Award-Winning Program Combats Lack of Hispanics Working in Congress
WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation's premier Latino youth leadership development and educational organization, welcomed the arrival of its summer congressional internship class on Monday, June 7, 2010. Thirty undergraduate students traveled from 15 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to take part in the nationally recognized and award-winning CHCI Congressional Internship Program (CIP).
Along with CHCI's Fellowship programs for college graduates, the CIP works to expose talented young Latinos to the inner-workings of Congress while preparing them to become part of the workforce pipeline to staff positions in Congress. A 2009 report prepared by the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association showed that only 2 percent of congressional senior staff is Hispanic compared to 14 percent of the U.S. population.
"CHCI is committed to opening doors for young Latinos to have access to jobs on Capitol Hill and to bridging the wide gap we see in the lack of staff diversity in Congress," said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO. "Latinos will soon make up one of every two new entrants into the U.S. labor market and our goal is to ensure that the future workforce of America is prepared and qualified to fill leadership roles across all sectors of the economy."
CHCI also strives to create diversity within its own class of interns. The 2010 class of CHCI Summer Interns represents 12 different Hispanic ethnic backgrounds and is pursuing 16 different fields of study for their bachelor's degrees. CHCI's Summer Congressional Internship Program is supported by the Comcast Foundation, AstraZeneca, Time Warner Cable, PepsiCo Foundation, Hyundai, David Bohnett Foundation, General Electric Hispanic Forum, and Southwest Airlines – the official airline of the Congressional Internship Program.
CHCI Time Warner Cable STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Summer Congressional Intern and Dallas, Texas native Jose Ricardo Moreno has high expectations for the internship experience. "I hope to learn about how government bodies function in order to maintain our society. I value the qualities of leadership, community service and real-world experience that I will gain through this opportunity that will provide me with the tools to confront the problems I face and will face in the future," he said. Moreno is a sophomore at Columbia University majoring in chemistry.
The Congressional interns participate in weekly CHCI leadership and professional development sessions and meet with corporate representatives, national elected officials and foreign dignitaries. They are also required to engage in a community service project during their stay in Washington, D.C. The interns kicked-off their orientation week with a leadership development training session on Monday and met with Judy Woodruff, chief correspondent for PBS's "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour." The interns are provided with housing, roundtrip transportation to and from the nation's capital, and a stipend.
CHCI's Congressional Internship Program was named one of the "Top Twenty Leadership Programs" for Latinos by Latino Leaders magazine in 2009. Applicants can apply for the CIP at www.chci.org.
About Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c) (3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services to students and young emerging leaders. The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. For more information call CHCI at (202) 543-1771 or visit www.chci.org.
SOURCE Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute