October 20, 2021

EDC Awarded DOD Grant to Develop Innovative Civic Empowerment Program

EDC has received a grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) to design and test an innovative new high school program that blends inquiry-based civic learning, media literacy education, and exploration of public service careers to prepare students to be active citizens and thrive in the workforce.

Supporting Readiness through Vital Civic Empowerment (SRVCE) will build teachers’ capacity to guide students in developing the civic, collaboration, and critical-thinking skills they will need for effective civic participation. EDC plans to pilot test the program with up to 1,000 students in military-connected schools around the United States.

The two-year project is a partnership of EDC, Generation Citizen, the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education, further aided by the Law and Public Safety Education Network, the National Career Academy Coalition, the Senior Executives Association, and U.S. Vets. A team of advisors on military and public service, civics, social studies, media literacy education, curriculum development, and professional learning will also contribute their expertise to SRVCE.

“Today’s youth face truly complex choices and challenges as well as exciting opportunities as they prepare to be our country’s future leaders,” said principal investigator (PI) Jessica Juliuson. “We are honored to work with DOD and our partners to support young people in developing a deep sense of civic responsibility and initiative.”

SRVCE will provide robust, active, career-connected, and scalable civic learning experiences. The program will include five key features to foster readiness for college, careers, and civic action:

1. A one-year sequence of five inquiry-based, standards-aligned civics modules that will equip students with knowledge of the principles and system of government at all levels 
2. Professional learning materials to support teachers in implementing the modules
3. A focus on building students’ capacity to evaluate media information, discern bias, communicate effectively, and take action on issues they care about
4. Opportunities for students to explore careers and gain work experience in fields related to civics (e.g., public service, public safety, STEM) 
5. Support from veterans and active-duty military as well as professionals in fields related to civics to help students learn from stories of service 

“Mass media has a powerful role in influencing decision-making,” said Tony Streit, co-PI for EDC and board president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. “SRVCE focuses on cultivating students’ civic knowledge and media literacy skills in pursuit of public service, a path so vital to our collective future. We’re extremely proud to be part of that journey.”