Danny Sertich is a Young Entrepreneur With Big Dreams


Millennials are taking charge of their future very early on and they’re being exposed to this through unique student organizations helping students connect their academic learning with real-world experiences. We spent time with one young entrepreneur to learn about his business venture and how he got started.

Tell us who you are and what you do.

I am Danny Sertich, Minnesota DECA’s Vice-President of Communications and entrepreneur. As a state officer for Minnesota DECA, I represent 4,700 members. I also have the task of running our State Career Development Conference with the other officers and staff.

Outside of work and school I run cross-country and track, play hockey and golf, and canoe/camp with my friends. This coming summer [2017] I will be going on a 45-day expedition into the Arctic Circle with seven other crewmembers. This expedition will follow the Coppermine River in Canada to the Arctic Ocean. This is a 2nd year trip for the Les Voyageurs, Inc. program after I spent 30-days in the Canadian wilderness with a similar crew and over 350 miles of portaging and paddling.

I have one younger brother, Shjon, and we enjoy many of the same activities. With his blonde surfer-boy hair, he always finds a way to make me smile. I wouldn’t want a different person to be around at home!

We heard you’re a young entrepreneur. Tell us what your business is and how you got started.

Yes! I own Versolin a business consulting firm. I started this after I competed with a business plan for DECA in 2015-16. A category of DECA’s competitive events involved a market research project with local businesses. Students work with a real business to formulate a plan to solve a problem (determined by a topic area put out by DECA, Inc. each year). DECA picks these topics based on trending problems in the business world, so often times these problems apply to the business they’re working with, and the business actually finds a way to implement the plan.

With a combination of my experiences in DECA (the business plan and a market research project) I realized I could actually make money from the consulting that DECA students are already doing. I explored the idea while I worked for the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, and with the feedback from local businesses there was a common theme. Many business executives and owners had a disconnect with the upcoming Millennial Generation—they just didn’t understand us. Using this gap as my niche, I started Versolin in August and I am now using it to compete in DECA’s Business Growth Plan.

In the recent past, Versolin did more targeted marketing for other businesses than any other service we provided. Now, with the Business Growth Plan, I am evaluating the possibility to engage in the venture capital market (currently untapped in St. Cloud, MN).

What’s the most important advice you ever received?

“Find something you’re passionate about and stick with it,” or “use your talents to make money.”

These two pieces of advice are the reason I am here today. If I didn’t have the courage to start my business or run for office, I’d just be the average high school student.

What advice would you give other students?

If there’s one piece of advice that I’d like to give to other students, it’s to not listen to what other people say. Actually, listen to advice and ignore those who tell you that you can’t succeed.


Minnesota DECA is a career and technical education student (CTSO) organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Learn more about Minnesota DECA to learn about their mission and how you can get involved.

OHE Offers Loan Repayments To Curb Teacher Shortage


Minnesota schools are experiencing a teacher shortage in several critical areas.

teacherAccording to Education Minnesota, the hardest positions to fill are in special education, math and science. There is also a need for more teachers to lead Career and Technical Education classes in high schools.

The state also has low numbers of teachers of color compared to Minnesota’s diverse student bodies.

Qualified teachers can apply for financial incentives to work in classrooms. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education announced The Minnesota Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program. Created in 2015 by the State Legislature, and signed into law by Governor Dayton, the program is intended to encourage teachers to teach in designated Minnesotan shortage areas.

According to OHE, Qualifying teachers who apply by June 30, 2016 may be eligible for repayment assistance of $1,000 per year, up to a total of $5,000. OHE estimates that 194 awards will be made for the 2015-2016 award year, with as many as 1,940 annual awards made through 2019.

Teachers can apply for the loan repayment program who:

  • Hold a teaching license issued by the licensing division in the Minnesota Department of Education on behalf of the Board of Teaching
  • Are employed by a school district to provide classroom instruction
  • Teach in a designated teacher shortage area; and
  • Have outstanding qualified educational loan debt.

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MnSCU’s Anderson Celebrates Mentors and Career & Technical Education


Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is one of many state and national leaders to recognize February 2016 as Career and Technical Education Month. The acknowledgement of secondary and postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs by the governor, the U.S. Senate and others serves as a reminder of the important work our educators do everyday to help students succeed in their college and career goals.

Ron_Anderson_FinalWith that in mind, Minnesota CTE took the opportunity to ask Ron Anderson, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), to reflect on CTE’s contributions to the state. Anderson speaks about the success of MnSCU’s CTE students, remembers his mentors, and talks about the role CTE plays in our states education and economic systems.

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8 Ways Presenting at Conferences Helps Your Career


By Denise Felder~

 

Have you ever looked at a speaker in a business meeting or professional conference and thought, “I could do that”?

Or do you think the opposite? – “There’s no way I could stand in front of the room like that.”

Either way, you are probably more qualified than you think to lead a presentation at work.

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Think You Know Career Tech? Think Again


by Denise Felder ~

When I started working for the state’s Career Technical Education (CTE) leadership a few months ago, I thought I knew what CTE was, but I had no idea.

Like many people, I thought CTE classes were for high school students to learn a manual trade instead of preparing for college. Well, like many people, I thought wrong.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know about CTE.

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Creating a Career and Education Plan


by Tricia Dahlman ~

The career and education landscape is changing. Recent Minnesota legislation now requires all students starting in 9th grade to have a Personal Learning Plan.   10s08jc0086The plan should include these key elements:

  • academic scheduling
  • career exploration
  • career and employment-related skills
  • community partnerships
  • college access
  • all forms of postsecondary training
  • experiential learning opportunities

Most schools already address these areas in a variety of ways. The new legislation is an opportunity to formalize some activities or add new areas to what is already done. The creation of a plan will help engage students by recording what they learned about themselves and their future choices. Continue reading

Financial Wellness: Student Loan Repayment Plans


by Nayda Sadr-Panah —

This month, many recent college graduates will go into student loan repayment after a grace period of six months. The excitement of graduation has worn off and with your first loan payment approaching, you may be scrambling to try and figure out how that payment is going to fit into your budget. Whether you are employed or not, those payments may cause you financial hardship.

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Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud


by Nayda Sadr-Panah

A large part of financial wellness includes protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud. It doesn’t happen to many people but the aftereffects of being a victim are harsh and could inconvenience you for the rest of your life. Shredding documents with sensitive information—such as bank statements, tax documents, documents containing your social security number, expired credit cards, anything with your address—is the most basic way to protect yourself from identity theft. Any documents with sensitive information that you keep at home should be stored in a locked, fireproof safe.

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Back to School


by Jared Reise

One of the benefits of working for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system is the tuition waiver that employees earn after three years of service. This can be used by a MnSCU employee (me) or their family. (It’s a real testament to the value of the product they offer and stand behind.) I come from a humanities background, but I ended up working for the Career and Technical Education department.  When the tuition waiver “alarm” sounded for me recently, I decided to seriously explore what I might do to further my education.

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