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What is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute?

For the last 40 years, CHCI has forged a critical pathway to Educate, Empower, and Connect our nation’s future Latino leaders, creating a transformative and lasting Impact on Latino youth and our nation. Learn more about CHCI’s history.

CHCI hosts a platform of leadership development programs, which equip young Latino leaders with the tools they need to be successful in the public and private sectors. Through our educational and leadership development programs, CHCI is committed to our mission of Developing the Next Generation of Latino Leaders®.

When are applications due?

The 2023-2024 Public Policy Fellowship Program application is due at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on December  15, 2022.

What are the essay word limits?

Please keep your responses to a maximum of 600 words each.

Am I eligible?

The CHCI Public Policy Fellowship Program requires that your degree be conferred within three years of the prospective start of the program. For the 2023-2024 application cycle, you should have completed your degree between May 2020 and August 2023. You are also only eligible if you do not plan to enroll in an academic program at the same time of the fellowship.

What do I need to complete my application?

A complete application consists of:

  • a one-page PDF version of your resume or your curriculum vitae,
  • your most recent unofficial transcript,
  • one letter of recommendation, and
  • three essays (300-600 words each).

How many letters of recommendation do I need? When and from whom should I make the request?

CHCI’s Public Policy Fellowship Program requires one letter of recommendation. You should identify and ask your recommender for a letter as early as possible in your application process. Be mindful of who you identify as a potential provider – we look at each letter to be sure the provider indicates having a positive working relationship with you and speaks well to your interests in public policy. The application is limited to one letter of recommendation. We do not guarantee that any additional letters will be considered as part of your application review.  If you are still interested in providing more than one letter of recommendation, you may ask additional providers to forward their letter to after receiving an invitation to interview.

When should I apply?

We encourage all applicants to apply as early as possible to allow for us to facilitate the review process more easily and to avoid any technical issues. We also only send application reminders and updates to those individuals who have started an application in the system. Please note, the application system shuts down at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on December  22, 2022 and will no longer be accessible after that time.

Is there an interview involved?

CHCI utilizes two rounds of interviews in the selection process.

  • Semi-finalists will be invited to record an asynchronous interview using CHCI’s online interview portal, hosted by VidCruiter.
  • Finalists will complete an additional  live interview with program staff.

Interview questions ask about a candidate’s leadership experience, work style, specific interests in public policy, and prospects for the Latino community. There are no trick questions; we use the interviews to get to know candidates on a deeper level, get a feel for how they will handle the unique work environment of Capitol Hill, and help us to create a cohort with diverse interests, approaches, and experiences.

How is a candidate selected?

A candidate is selected based on their demonstrated leadership experience, commitment to advancing the Latino community, quality of writing, letters of recommendation, and resume. Candidates are reviewed after the closing of each respective application by program alumni, CHCI programs staff and, in some cases, sponsoring partners. While we strive to provide a timely decision to all candidates within about six weeks of the application deadlines, this time period can vary between applications.

While we are always interested in individuals with a public policy background, we are also very interested in candidates who have subject matter expertise. Most years, fellowship slots are reserved for individuals with expertise and/or experience in:

  • Business and related fields, including finance, economics, and accounting
  • Communications and journalism
  • Engineering and hard sciences
  • Health
  • Technology, computer science, cybersecurity, and/or data systems
  • Energy

We encourage anyone interested in better understanding how public policy impacts their area of expertise to apply, regardless of their major!

How do I stand out as a competitive applicant?

Your essays are the best opportunity to tell us about you and we understand that each applicant’s story is unique. Take advantage of this space to indicate how you have exercised leadership in your family or community and how that has contributed to your interests in public policy. Please also ask a friend, professor, or mentor to review your essays in advance or to help you brainstorm what to talk about.

Can individuals who do not identify as Latino/a/x apply to CHCI programs?

Applicants interested in making an investment in the Latino community and/or working on policies that affect the Latino population are welcome to apply to any and all CHCI programs.

Are DACA applicants eligible to apply?

Yes. Applicants are not required to disclose their citizenship status during the application process. Once admitted, CHCI would ask for that disclosure for onboarding purposes. Any DACA applicant accepted must have their permit at the start of the program and must maintain valid employment authorization for the duration of the program. The 2023-2024 program will end on May 24, 2024.

What is the fellowship experience like?

Public Policy Fellowship experiences vary from placement to placement. All fellows will be expected to provide the same level work as an intern would, particularly in a congressional placement. However, fellowship placements are intended to align more closely with the fellow’s background and interests in public policy. Fellows are expected to put forth their best efforts in any placement and proactively search for opportunities to demonstrate their work capabilities, in addition to learning from the legislative staff in the office.

How are placements determined?

Public Policy Fellows are placed based on their professional and academic backgrounds, along with their interests in public policy, with at least one half of the full term being on Capitol Hill. Admitted fellows enter the placement process soon after accepting their fellowship offer and work closely with CHCI staff to determine a placement option. Fellows also have the option to pursue a placement off Capitol Hill during the program, which – in odd-numbered years – would occur during the second half of the program.

My school does not appear on the application. How should I proceed?

This happens time to time, particularly with schools out-of-country. Please send the following information on your school to our programs team:

  • School Name
  • City, State, Country

All other inquiries may be directed to our CHCI Programs Staff.