Social & Education Policy

Civic Learning While Earning? The Role of Student Employment in Cultivating Civic Commitments and Skills

Barnhardt, C.L.; Trolian, T.; An, B.; Rossmann, P.D.; Morgan, D.L.


More American college students spend their time working in paid employment than in the past. Prior scholarship has focused on the relationship between work and conventional outcomes (e.g., grades, persistence, and engagement), but little is known about the impact of students' work on civic engagement. As campuses are called to prepare students for both careers and civic life, this analysis contributes evidence regarding a potentially tenuous relationship between students' employment and their subsequent willingness and ability to connect to their larger community. Findings reveal that on-campus jobs increase the odds that students develop civic commitments, while off-campus jobs do not.