U.S. Chamber Foundation Launches New Report with Harvard Business Review on the Business Case for Civics Education

November 7, 2019

Study links civics education and skills required for businesses, employees, and the economy to thrive 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, released a new report, “The Business Case for Civics Education.” 

The publication highlights the links between civics education and skills and behaviors required for businesses, employees, and the economy to thrive. 

The United States has posted declines in various measures of civic awareness and participation across generations. Informed and active citizens make for a stronger country, a stronger economy, and a stronger workforce. The report asserts that a renewed focus on civics education and engagement will help foster the skills of collaboration in the workplace and help prepare workers for the 21st Century.  

“Employers are uniquely positioned to help ensure that the next generation of Americans are equipped to play a productive role in civic life,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Business leaders can make a big impact by prioritizing civic education of all forms in communities across the nation.” 

The paper makes the case that civic learning isn’t limited to the classroom – it occurs at school, at home, and at work. Because workplaces are one place where all races, religions, and ages congregate, business is uniquely positioned to help ensure that the next generation of Americans has the knowledge, skills, and disposition to take a productive role in civic life. 

The report identifies a budding movement in the nation among businesses, nonprofit foundations, and educational institutions to bring new energy to civic education.   

  • The Gilder-Lehrman Institute is expanding its Hamilton Education Program and will offer an online version free of charge to U.S. middle and high schools in 2020. 

  • Harvard Business School is extending its case study method to civics education, reaching 10,000 students from the most economically challenged schools to the most privileged. 

  • Allstate embeds civics education into all of its activities and recently participated in an effort to ensure that all public high schools students receive civics education in Illinois.  

  • BlueCross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Citizen Blue program educates employees about the political system and encourage participation in government at all levels of government. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working to reverse the decline in civic knowledge and participation. Our work is nonpartisan, and it is predicated on the belief that business has a responsibility to support greater civic knowledge and engagement at all levels of society. 

The white paper is the latest in a series of activities designed to educate business and community leaders about the importance of civic knowledge and the benefits of programs that provide young people with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to participate in civic life.  The Chamber Foundation launched this initiative in September when it brought government, business, and non-profit leaders to Washington for its Civics Forward event.  

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for businesses and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.