Our Mission

TechCongress brings tech talent, ideas and training to Congress and to build a practical and pragmatic understanding of Washington within the tech community.  We bridge the divide of knowledge and experience between DC and Silicon Valley for better outcomes for both. 

The fellowship

Learn more about our 2016 class 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.  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 NSA surveillance reform, encryption, cybersecurity or network neutrality.  Typical duties may include: 

  • Briefing Members and staff about technology issues
  • Researching legislation 
  • Preparing for hearings or markups
  • Meeting with stakeholder groups and building coalitions

You can read more about our first two Congressional Innovation Fellows and their work in Congress on our blog.  

FEllowship orientation

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. 

benefits

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 nine month residency to ensure that they can achieve maximum impact. 

Benefits include: 

  • $70,000/year equivalent stipend 
  • Health insurance supplement of up to $350/month*
  • Relocation allowance of up to $2,500
  • Equipment or travel allowance of up to $1,200

*Fellows access the same coverage options as Members and Congressional staffers through DC Health Link, the Washington D.C. Health Insurance Exchange


eligibility

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.  Candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.  

Citizenship is not a requirement to apply.  TechCongress is unable to assist with visa applications or renewals but anyone legally authorized to work in the United States through the duration of the fellowship and holding a US bank account is eligible to apply.

Applicants should: 

  • 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 2017 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.
  • Board affiliations
  • 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 andhttp://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/2008_House_Ethics_Manual.pdf (see page 284).