ESCANABA - More than 300 students from across the Upper Peninsula, including a number from Marquette County, recently converged in Escanaba for an annual competition preparing them for careers in the business world.
Using skills learned in their local Business Professionals of America organizations, participants tested and competed in a wide variety of subjects related to the professional workforce, explained Ann Wuorinen of Ironwood.
Wuorinen is one of three regional advisers who coordinated the 36th Annual Business Professionals of America regional conference held at Bay College on Friday. She was among a group of approximately 60 volunteers helping at the yearly event.
Skyler Dakota, a sophomore from Westwood High School, studies for his individual economic research presentation during the Business Professionals of America Regional Leadership Conference held at Bay College in Escanaba recently. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
Students from across the Upper Peninsula compete in advanced office systems during the conference. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
"The BPA competition is about student growth and yearly progress," said Wuorinen. "It's an incentive for the students to see how the actual business world works. I think it's also an opportunity for the students to network with the other students in the U.P."
Throughout the year, high school BPA students have been learning about the business world at their local schools and career centers.
The annual conference at Bay College allows them to compete against other students in skill tests, written exams, speeches, presentations, and interviews.
Participants, dressed in professional attire, come to the conference prepared for individual or team competitions ranging from accounting to website design, Wuorinen explained.
Other areas students compete in are basic and advanced office skills, computer animation, digital media production, economic research, global marketing, human resources management, video production, banking and finance, medical office procedures, and Parliamentary Procedures.
In addition to helping high schoolers develop skills to become leaders in the business world, Wuorinen said the conference is also an opportunity for the BPA advisors to evaluate themselves through the progress of their students.
At the end of the day-long competitions, grading, and judging, an awards ceremony was held. The students scoring top honors advance to state competition in Grand Rapids in March.
The national BPA competition will be held in Chicago in April.
Students participating in Friday's conference came from Escanaba, Marquette, Westwood, Stephenson, Crystal Falls, West Iron County, Ironwood, Calumet and Sault Ste. Marie.