Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Levine: Could Civic Engagement Be the Key to Economic Success?

In the Huffington Post, Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), believes more civic engagement will improve the economy in the United States. His research focuses on civic engagement and deliberate democracy.

Thomas Ehrlich, editor of Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, defines civic engagement as
"...working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes."

Levine uses these five factors to measure civic engagement: attending meetings, helping neighbors, registering to vote, volunteering and voting. A new report, Civic Health and Unemployment: Can Engagement Strengthen the Economy, has been released that explores the relationship between civic engagement and economic resilience. I think the results of this report coincides perfectly with the upcoming presidential election. I also believe educational institutions and community organizations need to do a better job in promoting civic participation in young people. A well-educated citizenry will preserve democracy and improve the future direction of this nation.

In September 2012, the National Conference on Citizenship will hold its annual meeting in Philadelphia. The 2012 theme is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Exploring the Link Between Civic Engagement and Employment."

[UPDATE: 10/16/2012]: Campus Compact released a white paper, Engaged Learning Economices: Aligning Civic Engagement and Economic Development in Community-Campus Partnerships, that focuses on the impact of merging campus civic engagement and economic development in local communities.

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