Business Professionals of America
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (February 2013)|
|Motto||Today’s students. Tomorrow’s business professionals.|
|Formation||1966 (as the Office Education Association)|
|Legal status||Intra-Curricular Non-profit organization|
|51,000 (2,300 chapters) in 23 States|
|Rachel Wagner (Secondary), Serina Pack (Post-Secondary)|
Business Professionals of America (BPA) is a career and technical student organization that is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. BPA aims to develop leadership, academic, and technological skills in the workplace among students and leaders within the community. BPA's colors are navy blue, tan, and red.
At the beginning of meetings or other events, BPA members recite their pledge: "We are met in a spirit of friendship and goodwill as we prepare for careers in a world-class workforce. We work together to develop professionalism and leadership through Business Professionals of America and pledge our loyalty to our nation."
BPA's motto is: "Today’s students. Tomorrow’s business professionals."
Officers at National, State, and Chapter Levels
Every Business Professionals of America chapter has presiding officers for the national organization, state associations, and local chapters. They all share and carry out similar tasks at all levels.
- President: A good leader is one who can work with people and in turn get people to work with him/her for the good of the organization. He/she knows the work that has to be done and recognizes that it will take many people to do the job. The leader keeps informed at all times of the efforts and progress of those whom a responsibility has been given and sees that the organization is moving forward.
- Vice-President: The office of vice president usually carries specific responsibilities for program planning. In most organizations, this is a major task involving many skills and much hard work. In BPA, the vice president has the responsibility of coordinating all Torch Awards Program activities and assisting the president by meeting with all committees, coordinating the program, and assuring that all activities are in keeping with general chapter practices.
- Secretary: A good secretary contributes much toward the efficiency of a chapter. Some chapters have one or more recording and corresponding secretaries while others have only one secretary. Some duties include keeping a complete and accurate account of proceedings of the chapter’s business meetings and the meetings of officers, keeping membership lists including a record of attendance, answer all correspondence promptly, and file the letter and the reply for future reference. This position is vital to the stability and progress of the chapter. It requires a responsible and organized individual that will get things done before or right on deadlines without delay in order to keep chapter activities running and stable.
- Parliamentarian: The chapter parliamentarian is responsible for the smooth running of meetings according to proper parliamentary procedures. Suggested duties include being present at each meeting to advise the presiding officer, being familiar with the by-laws of the local chapter, and the state and national organizations; studying parliamentary procedure so as to be familiar with all of its principles.
- Treasurer: A good treasurer should be accurate, prompt and resourceful. Some suggested duties are serving as chairman of the finance committee, help plan the chapter budget for the year, and keep accurate financial records.
- Historian: The historian will provide pictorial and factual information to be kept as permanent records of the chapter’s activities.
- Reporter: The reporter writes articles for the media, including the school newspaper and local paper regarding chapter news and spotlights.
- Sergeant at Arms: Keeps order at meetings, but at a larger level (similar to parliamentarian).
Types of awards
BPA rewards members in three categories:
- Competitive Events: Members are rewarded for high placement in competitive events.
- BPA Cares Awards: Air Force Recruiting Salute Award, Community Relief Service Award, BPA Marketing and Public Relation, Chapter Activities Award of Excellence, Community Action, Outstanding Service Award, Entrepreneurship Exploration, Hall of Fame and Outstanding Service Awards, Member Recruiter, Merit Scholar, National Center Capital Improvements Campaign, Safety Awareness, Special Olympics, Environmental Action Award, and The Professional Cup. 
- Torch Awards: Members are rewarded for excellence in seven categories such as "Patriotism," "Leadership," "Love, Hope, and Faith," "Knowledge," "Cooperation," and "Friendship". 
There are several levels of competition held at conferences and competition advancement is sought at each level in events referred to in the Competitive Events section.
- Regional Leadership Conference (RLC)
- State Leadership Conference (SLC)
- National Leadership Conference (NLC)
Many regions opt to arrange Fall Leadership Conferences in which there is no competition. These conferences are usually less formal than at RLC, SLC, and NLC.
National Leadership Conference
Every year BPA hosts a National Leadership Conference (NLC) with over 6,000 students from across the nation.
Future National Leadership Conference sites:
Past National Leadership Conference sites:
- 2013: Orlando, Florida
- 2012: Chicago, Illinois
- 2011: Washington D.C.
- 2010: Anaheim, California
- 2009: Dallas, Texas
- 2008: Reno, Nevada
- 2007: New York City, New York
- 2006: Orlando, Florida
- 2005: Anaheim, California
- 2004: Cincinnati, Ohio
- 2003: Dallas, Texas
- 2002: Chicago, Illinois
- 1995: Nashville, Tennessee
- 1993: San Antonio, Texas
- 1992: Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1991: Orlando, Florida
- 1990: Minneapolis, Minnesota
History of Business Professionals of America
Business Professionals of America was formed in 1966 as the Office Education Association (OEA). Note that information retrieved below was accessed at http://www.bpa.org/information/history.
- 1963: Vocational Education Act is passed. The need for a student organization for students enrolled in career/technical office/business programs is recognized.
- 1964: American Vocational Association conducts a study of 43 states indicating that 67% of the state vocational education supervisors want a career/technical youth group for students in office/business programs.
- 1965: Another study confirms the ’64 study findings; State supervisors meet to develop guidelines
- 1966: In July, the Vocational Office Education Clubs of America (VOECA) is formed by the states of Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin. In August, VOECA convened a meeting of youth group representatives to decide the most effective means to implement the office occupations youth group. After intensive effort, articles of incorporation are filed for the Office Education Association (OEA). The first three states to affiliate are Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
- 1971: A national office is established for the Office Education Association in Columbus, Ohio, and the Board of Trustees approve the Alumni Division.
- 1973: The first full-time Executive Director of OEA is employed.
- 1982: The present National Center at 5454 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio is purchased.
- 1983: Dedication ceremonies for the new National Center are conducted in July.
- 1984: Board of Trustees commissioned the Market One firm of Columbus, Ohio to do a marketing study of the OEA. The resulting long-range marketing plan recommended reform of the national image of the OEA.
- 1988: Image reform recommendations of the marketing study is implemented—the OEA became Business Professionals of America.
- 1992: The National Center is paid off and the mortgage is burned in a ceremony at the National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas
- 2002: The Middle Level Program is approved by the Board of Trustees.
- 2003: The Middle Level Program is approved by BPA Corporate. The BPA Middle Level Division is born.
- 2004: Middle Level Division members participate in the National Leadership Conference.