TechCongress places computer scientists, engineers, and other technologists to serve as technology policy advisors to to Members of Congress through our one-year Congressional Innovation Fellowship. We bridge the divide of knowledge and experience between DC and Silicon Valley for better outcomes for both.
Since 2016 we've sent 23 fellows to Congress who have done groundbreaking work including passing the OPEN Government Data Act into law, leading the investigation into Cambridge Analytica's data sharing practices, changing defense procurement rules to allow startups to better compete for contracts and serve our servicemembers, and revealing the Russian government is targeting Members of Congress on their personal emails and devices.
We are now recruiting for the 2020 Congressional Innovation Fellowship!
what we’re looking for
This fellowship will place you among the top tech decision makers in the United States government at a time when technology is reshaping society in fundamental ways. Even if you've never considered working in government, you should apply. The Congressional Innovation Fellowship will allow you to make change at the highest levels and at a scale unparalleled in the private or public sectors.
We are bridging the divide between Congress and the technology sector by placing tech savvy candidates like you to work with Members of Congress and Congressional Committees in order to build capacity in Congress, train cross-sector leaders -- who can understand the challenges of government and in the technology community -- and keep Congress up to date about the latest challenges and opportunities relating to technology.
What we’re looking for in our Fellows:
At least four years of work or postgraduate study.
Tech savvy, with experience working in or studying the technology sector.
Great interpersonal and communications skills.
Some technical ability and training.
Ability to explain technology to those that aren’t as familiar with technology tools or concepts.
Track record of success taking initiative and working with others.
Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.
Committed to helping get Members of Congress and Congressional staff up to speed on technology issues.
As a Congressional Innovation Fellow you will:
Work with TechCongress to choose a placement with a Member or Congress or Congressional Committee and report directly to a senior staffer (like a Chief of Staff or Staff Director) in that office from January through December 2020.
Perform duties similar to other Congressional staff by applying your experience in technology to a variety of work, including:
Researching relevant policymaking (on issues like cyber and election security, data and biometric privacy, AI policy, autonomous vehicle regulations, health IT, encryption, disinformation, and many others).
Helping educate Members and staff about these issues.
Preparing for and organizing Committee hearings, markups, or investigations.
Building coalitions with partners and other groups.
Support TechCongress by writing about and presenting on your experience periodically, and represent TechCongress and the Congressional Innovation Fellowship at meetings or events.
No experience working in or with government? Great! We're not looking for that. The Congressional Innovation Fellowship is an opportunity to expose technology leaders like you to Capitol Hill. It is first and foremost and educational experience, giving you a one-of-its-kind education into how Congress and the government works.
Learn more about our past classes of Congressional Innovation Fellows!
The Congressional Innovation Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to change Congress by injecting desperately needed technological expertise into the Legislative Branch.
The fellowship is a twelve-month residency on Capitol Hill, running from January to December, with an optional 13th month the following January. Fellows work directly for a Member of Congress or Congressional Committee for the duration of their residency and may spend their time on technology-related issues like emerging technologies, AI and automation, election security, data privacy, encryption, cybersecurity or defense technology policy. Typical duties may include:
Briefing Members and staff about technology issues
Preparing for hearings or markups
Meeting with stakeholder groups and building coalitions
You can read more about our Congressional Innovation Fellows and their work in Congress on our blog.
Fellows begin the program with a two week in-depth orientation.
Week one consists of small group networking with policymakers, including one-on-one conversations with Members of Congress and their staff. It also includes workshops on the following topics:
Legislative process, including House and Senate floor procedure
Committees and Committee process
Federal budgeting and appropriations
Technology policy deep-dives
Overall leadership development
In week two, fellows visit with tech policy thought leaders at academic institutions, civil society groups and technology companies to explore the range of perspectives on common tech policy challenges.
The Congressional Innovation Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to change Congress by injecting desperately needed technological expertise into the Legislative Branch. Fellows receive competitive stipend and benefits during their twelve month residency to ensure that they can achieve maximum impact.
Health insurance supplement of up to $400/month*
Relocation allowance of up to $2,500
Travel allowance of up to $2,500
*Fellows access the same coverage options as Members and Congressional staffers through DC Health Link, the Washington D.C. Health Insurance Exchange
The Congressional Innovation Fellowship is an opportunity for early - mid career technology professionals to get hands on experience working in Congress and learn about the policymaking process. The program embraces diversity and believes that a wide range of views, backgrounds and experience will contribute to improved policy outcomes.
You must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, green card holder, or must be lawfully authorized to work full-time without restriction for any U.S. employer throughout the duration of the fellowship (including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, or those eligible for the DACA program).
Have experience working in or with technology, and the ability to convey complex technical subjects to less-technically savvy individuals.
Have some professional experience or be enrolled in or near completion of a graduate level program.
Have a strong desire help build the Congressional Innovations Fellows program. As part of the 2020 class, fellows should expect to give ongoing feedback about fellowship activities, rapidly prototype and help build the pipeline for technological expertise into Congress.
Commitment to Diversity
TechCongress is committed to building an ecosystem of diverse, cross-sector technology policy leaders. We recognize that diversity is a problem in the technology community and are working to be part of the solution. Diversity is also a problem on Capitol Hill, where hiring is often based on pre-existing relationships and many entry level jobs do not pay a living wage, making it difficult for individuals that don’t come from money to begin a career and subsequently advance in Congress. We embrace diversity across multiple dimensions and encourage applicants from underrepresented communities in technology and in Congress, including those from minority gender, race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic groups. We pay a living wage and create a pathway into Congress that does not exist for underrepresented groups.
Conflicts of Interest
Prior to final interviews, TechCongress will request information from applicants related to ongoing personal or professional activities that might interfere with a fellow’s impartiality serving in a Member or Committee office. This information will be used to identify any activity that might:
Significantly impair the fellow’s objectivity, or
Create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization
Fellows will be required to identify:
Past, existing and future paid and unpaid activities.
Consultancies or other interests and sources of financial support
In order to preserve the integrity of the TechCongress fellowship, and ensure that the fellow is not compromised by the appearance of a conflict of interest, the fellow will be required to sign a statement affirming that there is no conflict of interest or competing interest that would preclude a fellow from participating in a Congressional fellowship.
The term “Conflict of Interest” applies not only to the applicant, but to the interests of others in which the applicant has significant financial interest, including the applicant’s partner or dependants.
In addition to this statement, fellows must comply with laws, rules, and standards of conduct applicable to House and Senate employees and may be required to sign statements affirming compliance with these requirements.
These include “the Code of Official Conduct (House Rule 23), the gift rule (House Rule 25, clause 5), the ban on solicitations (5 U.S.C. § 7353), and the limitations on accepting a payment for a speech, article, or appearance (House Rule 25, clause 1(a)(2)).”
As a condition of the fellowship, the fellow may be required by the federal government to submit a financial disclosure statement and sign a declaration of adherence to policies and laws governing codes of ethical conduct. For more information about specific ethics determinations, please visit http://ethics.senate.gov/downloads/pdffiles/manual.pdf and http://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/2008_House_Ethics_Manual.pdf (see page 284).