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Indiana Chamber, Department of Education launch statewide civics bee for students

Jason Bearce speaks into a microphone. Bearce is a White man with dark brown hair, wearing a suit.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Jason Bearce helped spearhead the creation of Indiana's first statewide civics bee for sixth through eighth graders.

Indiana sixth through eighth graders can now participate in the first statewide civics bee.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and state Department of Education partnered with local chambers to create the competition, through an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The aim is to get kids more excited and engaged with civics and their communities.

State chamber Vice President Jason Bearce said it gets to the “heart” of the chamber’s mission — to help people be informed, engaged citizens.

“This seemed like kind of a fun, interactive way for kids to kind of show their civics knowledge but also give the business community kind of a role to play in helping to foster that collaboration,” Bearce said.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana.

Chamber President-elect Vanessa Green Sinders said civic engagement should be thought of as a business and economic issue.

“Workforce is about education, it is about community — and it involves all of us,” she said.

Participation in the civics bee begins with an essay competition at the local level, through local chambers of commerce across the state. Winners of local civics bee competitions advance to the state level. And the state winner will go to the national civics bee next fall.

There are cash prizes at the local, state and national level.

More details are available at

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.