The CBCF Congressional Fellowship Program was created in 1976 in order to increase
The Congressional Fellowship Program is designed around three components: public policy training, educational enrichment, and leadership development. The centerpiece of the public policy training component is a nine-month Congressional office placement. During the office placement, Fellows gain invaluable experience as they assist in the development of legislative and public policy initiatives while working as Congressional staff. Fellows work 40 hours per week on a range of staff assignments, including legislative analysis, responding to constituent mail, drafting legislation, and coordinating logistics and public testimony for Congressional hearings. Additionally, Fellows are required to write a public policy research paper, policy brief, and op-ed article on a matter of mutual interest to themselves and the Member for whom they work.
At the end of the nine-month office placement, Fellows have the option of participating in a two and one half month placement on a Congressional committee, at a federal agency, or with a public policy oriented non-profit. During this placement, Fellows will be paired with a senior public policy professional that will act as a mentor. This supplemental experience is designed to expose fellows to the inner workings of the institutions that influence Congress during the policymaking process and / or execute the will of Congress.
Fellows also participate in a rigorous educational program centered around monthly seminars on policy and politics. These seminars explore topics such as African Americans’ relationship with the two major parties, the history of the Congressional Black Caucus, and relevant policy issues. The seminars are supplemented by a series of lectures and briefings by Members of the CBC and other Congressional leaders, federal government officials, and public policy experts.
Last, the Congressional Fellowship Program includes a leadership development component. During the Congressional placement, Fellows participate in a series of leadership development retreats and a community service project. The purpose of these activities is to help Fellows acquire the tools necessary for leadership positions and to gain practical experience in working with others to serve the African American community. The program also includes a professional development component that provides Fellows with career counseling and a network of valuable contacts in public policy, education, government, and business.
Participants in the Congressional Fellowship Program must reside in or relocate to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Fellows receive health and dental insurance and a stipend totaling $25,000 for the nine-month fellowship period (this is comparable to the salary for most first-year Congressional staff). Fellows who successfully complete the nine-month program are eligible to participate in the optional summer placement. Fellows who participate in the summer placement are provided with an additional $5,500 stipend. Fellows are responsible for their own travel, housing, and other associated expenses.
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