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College to Congress

College to Congress (C2C) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more inclusive and effective Congress by empowering the next generation of public servants. We seek a democracy that truly represents and reflects the people that it serves and provides the foundations for a more collaborative and effective government. C2C creates pathways for high-achieving, low-income college juniors, seniors, and recent graduates to intern in Congress.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch pose with interns after a July hearing. It is essential internships — even remote positions — remain available, according to Harris and Bhatia.

How to keep internships vital to a functioning Congress during Covid

Harris, a former congressional intern and aide, is CEO of Popvox Inc., an information and resources platform for civic engagement and legislating. Bhatia is a legislative correspondent for Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and founder of the Modernization Staff Association.
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College to Congress

Retaining paid interns, hiring paid summer interns and keeping interns during the coronavirus crisis would help ensure a smooth continuation of government, writes College to Congress CEO Audrey Henson.

Capitol Hill interns especially vulnerable as D.C. shuts down

Henson is founder and CEO of College to Congress, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that works to get more young adults positioned for careers in public service.

Last week, the House of Representatives adopted 29 bipartisan recommendations from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Among them are plans to improve the House's record of staff diversity and retention — including better ways to address the needs of entry-level staff, the annual legion of congressional interns included.

Our group caters to students who are passionate about public service and come from low-income backgrounds or are in the first generation of their family to attend college. We help them get placed in offices throughout the House and Senate, but now they are among the most vulnerable communities on Capitol Hill.

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This summer's College to Congress class.

More interns than ever working for pay on the Hill this summer

Internships on Capitol Hill have long been viewed as the province of the rich, or at least those who could afford to spend a semester or summer without getting paid. A nonprofit civic education group took the lead in changing that with a paid internship program started three years ago, and this summer Congress itself is doing more to pay for its collegiate help than ever before.

Paying more interns is seen as a small but serious step toward improving how Congress functions, because there's a strong expectation the place will work better if it's staffed by a more economically as well as ethnically broad-based group of people.

College to Congress aims to bring more diversity to the intern pool by giving low-income students opportunities to work for members of both parties. The 18 students chosen for this summer have all their expenses related to housing, travel, food and professional clothing paid for—more than $26,000 each.

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