The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed Congress into a remote and virtual institution literally overnight. Capitol Hill was not prepared for this moment and is now confronting a number of urgent digital challenges.
We are looking to immediately recruit a small collaborative tech team to scrub in for an eight month fellowship to help Congress manage this critical moment.
To date, TechCongress has sent 29 technologists to Congress to serve with offices including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Oversight Committee.
The current challenges in Congress include:
Lack of effective technical infrastructure for continuity of the institution (e.g. no platform for digital signatures or electronic bill introduction) and lack of adoption and approval of remote tools (e.g Slack, Microsoft Teams, other video conferencing).
Security concerns, including inconsistent use of tools and member and staff reliance on personal devices and unsupported messaging platforms.
Lack of expertise to test and support potential longer-term modernization tools/processes/solutions, including video-based committee hearings, virtual staff briefings, and remote voting.
In response to the urgent need for digital expertise, TechCongress is launching a Congressional Digital Service Fellowship, modeled on parts of the United States Digital Service. This is a limited term fellowship-- an eight month sprint-- in order to:
Meet the immediate need for technical talent to help modernize the digital infrastructure of the Congress.
Capitalize on the opportunity to galvanize the institution to build a Congressional Digital Service within the institution.
Fellows will be paid a competitive stipend, consistent with tech team salaries in the executive branch like the Presidential Innovation Fellowship, as well as reimbursements for health care, relocation to Washington, D.C. and any necessary travel.
This Congressional Digital Services 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, the program will allow you to make changes at the highest levels and at a scale unparalleled in the private or public sectors.
As a Congressional Digital Service Fellow you will:
Join a startup team of interdisciplinary technologists to scope gaps in digital infrastructure in Congress and help modernize the functioning of our Legislative Branch, on projects that could include:
Methods for digitally submitting bills, cosponsors, statements for the record
Model office handbooks for telework and shepherding approval of private sector solutions (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom) for offices.
Support TechCongress by writing about and presenting on your experience periodically, and represent TechCongress at meetings or events.
What we’re looking for in our Fellows:
Commitment to helping get Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and institutional offices up to speed on technology issues.
Experience on a government tech team (USDS, 18F, TTS, PIF, Code for America, Coding it Forward, state or local government digital services) is a big, big plus.
Ability to start in Washington, D.C. by June 15, 2020.
At least five years of work or postgraduate study
Possessing some or a few of the following technical skills or experience:
Experience coding in C/C++, Go, Python or Java
Front-end development experience-- HTML/CSS
Experience with Identity and Access Management protocols
Experience with SQL or NoSQL data stores
UX / UI
Digital IT procurement
Experience with Lean or Agile concepts
Great interpersonal and communications skills.
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.
The Congressional Digital Service Fellowship is an opportunity to expose technology leaders like you to Capitol Hill. It is first and foremost an educational experience, giving you a one-of-its-kind education into how Congress and the government works.
About TechCongress TechCongress is a startup non-profit, incubated at the Open Technology Institute at New America. We've got great staff and advisors doing all we can to bridge the gap between government and the technology community. We are nonpartisan and work with a diverse set of political voices, and do not take positions on issues. We work hard in an intentional and productive manner, and have fun while we do it. We are building a new generation of technology leaders, and support our staff and fellows with professional development, networking, and freedom to tinker and test new ideas. Above all, we are vigilantly focused on adding value—to our people, our institutions and our society.
Fellows have served with the most influential offices in Congress on technology policy matters. Since 2016 we've sent 29 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, hanging 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.
Now, we’re pivoting to meet the immediate needs for improved digital and technical infrastructure in Congress, modeled on parts of efforts like the U.S. Digital Service and Code for America.
We hope you'll apply.
We are an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer TechCongress values an inclusive and diverse workplace. We are an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our clientele, our employees, and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and fellows and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment and fellowship, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.