CBCF Fellowship Program

The in-person Fellowship Program equips early career policy professionals who are committed to contributing to public policy with the necessary skills to do so.

CBCF Offers three Fellowship Types:
Congressional Fellows (six months in a congressional office and six months with a committee or subcommittee). Available Fellowship types include:

*John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellows via our National Racial Equity Initiative (NREI) (six months in a congressional office and six months conducting research with CPAR).

Research Fellows (one full year conducting research with CPAR).

  • CPAR Transportation Equity Fellow (Sponsored by State Farm)
    Apply for this opportunity via our employment opportunities page, given that this placement is a year long appointment working directly with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Please see descriptions of each Fellowship type below:

Congressional and NREI Fellows are placed in the Senate, House of Representatives and other select offices to become the next generation of leaders in public service. The program is an intensive 12-month policy training and leadership development program which enables Fellows to receive hands-on public policy training as full-time legislative aides and policy analysts. CBCF Fellowship discipline areas include Health, Cybersecurity, Aerospace/Defense, Diversity & Technology, Finance & Economics, Foreign Policy, Energy, Environment Sustainability, and more. Applicants of all backgrounds will be considered for this opportunity.

Congressional and NREI Social Justice Fellowships are identical for the first 6-months of Fellows’ tenure. The differentiation in these two Fellowship experiences lies in the second 6-month rotation. Please see further details below:

Congressional Fellows
During the second six-months of the Fellowship Program, Congressional Fellows transition to a Congressional committee or subcommittee. The committee placement complements their experience in
a Member’s office and provides Fellows with a full view of the legislative process including, but not limited to…

  • Overseeing a bill move from the committee to the floor
  • Recommending strategies and tactics on bills and positions
  • Writing and reviewing legislative memos

John R. Lewis NREI Social Justice Fellows
During the second 6-months of the Fellowship Program, NREI Fellows will produce social justice policy research and analysis via CBCF’s Center for Policy Analysis and Research. Topics include, but are not limited to, criminal justice reform, education, community/economic development, health equity, and civil rights. In the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, Fellows will work under the NREI Director and in cooperation with other stakeholders to conduct policy analysis, research, and data collection with the goal to disseminate research findings and relevant information to advance NREI’s mission. Fellows during their term may also organize social justice forums and brain trusts, serve as an expert in their field, and produce issue briefs, fact sheets and other publications related to social justice.

Research Fellowships

Finally, CBCF also offers Research Fellowships, which are an opportunity to engage in a one-year research Fellowship with our Center for Policy Analysis and Research. This opportunity does not include a rotation in a Congressional office, as applies with the Congressional and NREI Fellowship Opportunities.

All Fellows are expected to engage in the following as part of the Fellowship opportunity:

  • Monthly professional development sessions with CBCF
  • Completion of a social impact service project with a nonprofit of their choice
  • Routine engagement with their respective sponsor
  • SMART goal creation for each six-month rotation (Congressional and NREI Fellows)

CBCF staff will offer information sessions to allow prospective applicants to learn more about our Fellowship program. Should this be of interest, please register:

*Use the link below to register for the information session on *

Use the link below to register for the information session on:

Candidate Requirements

  • COVID vaccination, including booster shot
  • U.S. citizenship or a permit to work in the U.S. for the duration of the program
  • A master’s degree, doctoral degree, or juris doctorate obtained by the start date of the program
  • Familiarity with the federal legislative process, the U.S. Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus and its members, and related policy
  • Superior analytical skills
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice either through public policy, professional experience, or community-related activism aimed at improving the living conditions of the global Black community

Note: Do not apply to the Fellowship Program if you have not yet obtained a graduate level degree (or have obtained one by program start). On occasion, CBCF will consider applications of those who wish to take a leave of absence from their doctoral studies to participate in the program (this ONLY applies when applicants have already obtained a master’s degree). Fellows are not permitted to be actively enrolled in graduate courses or outside employment for the duration of the Fellowship program.

September Fellowship Program Dates:
Start Date: September 11, 2023
End Date: September 6th, 2024
Application Deadline: June 30, 2023

Application Materials
The following items will be requested through the online application:

  • 2 Essay Question Responses
  • 2 letters of recommendation, submitted electronically (hard copy letters will not be accepted)
  • Resume listing extracurricular activities, honors, employment, community service, and special skills (2-page limit)
  • Cover letter discussing the applicant’s academic and professional background, and explaining the applicant’s interest in the Fellowship, how the fellowship fits into the applicant’s career plans, and any experience that would make the applicant highly effective in this position (2-page limit)
  • A recent photograph suitable for publication (i.e., a graduation photo or other professional-quality photograph in which the subject is formally dressed)

Selection Process
The selection process is highly competitive. Annually, CBCF accepts fewer than 10% of those who apply. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of CBCF staff and external partners. Only top candidates receive an invitation to interview for a select number of fellowship opportunities, based on the quality of their application and demonstrated interest in social justice policy. Finalists are selected and notified by the CBCF. Any incomplete or late application packets will not be reviewed.

Fellowship Benefits

  • CBCF Congressional Fellows receive a full salary and benefits for the duration of the program. The salary range is $60-$70,000 based on Fellowship type and is non-negotiable.*
  • As part of our new partnership with Air B n B, Fellows who take part in our Fellowships will receive transitional housing prior to their official move to Washington, DC. Details will follow pending applicant acceptance.

COVID-19 Guidelines
The in-person nature of this program will require both full vaccination and adherence to CDC guidelines, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to applying to this program, please read the following expectations in their entirety:

Vaccination Policy

  • Congressional Fellows must (i) provide proof that they are fully vaccinated prior to the start date of the program or (ii) obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation (the process for seeking an accommodation is explained below). Note: Only vaccines authorized for emergency use and/or full use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are acceptable under this policy
  • Until full vaccination is documented or an approved exemption as an accommodation is obtained, Congressional Fellows may not be approved to participate in the Congressional Fellowship.
  • All Congressional Fellows are expected to have completed a full vaccination regime (to include booster shots), or have an approved exemption accommodation_*.
    Congressional Fellows who fail to become fully vaccinated or obtain an approved exemption accommodation before the program’s start date will be subject to being rejected from the program.

Requests for Accommodations

Fellows may request an approved exemption from the vaccination requirement as an accommodation for medical or sincerely held religious reasons:

  • Fellows may request an accommodation for a medical reason such as a disability (as defined by applicable law), pregnancy (or childbirth or a related medical condition), being a nursing mother, having a documented medical condition that contraindicates the vaccination, or any other trait, characteristic, or class for which applicable law requires the CBCF to provide reasonable workplace accommodations.
  • Fellows may request an accommodation for a non-medical reason, such as an objection to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.

Accommodation requests should be submitted to Human Resources in writing.

Additional Note: Former Fellows, immediate relatives of a CBCF employee, CBC Member, CBC Spouse, a staff person of a CBC Member or Spouse, a member of the CBCF Board of Directors, Corporate Advisory Council Member of CBCF, or any CBCF-sponsoring entity are not eligible for CBCF Fellowship programs.

Please email Fellowships@cbcfinc.org with any questions.

Supplemental Questions
  1. Essay 1: You are working in the office of a congressional member as a subject matter expert in your respective profession. Draft a memo to your congressional member discussing three policy areas that you deem most critical to the advancement of the Black community, and why your representative should prioritize these items on his/her agenda, and how s/he can create awareness on these issues. Be sure to cite your sources. [1,000 word maximum]
  2. Essay 2: Choose a social justice policy issue (i.e., criminal justice reform, Black maternal health, school-to prison pipeline, public education, or racial discrimination in the workplace) you find most relevant to the Black community in the last three congressional sessions. Discuss the status of the legislation, the key members involved with the issue, and the potential or current effects of the legislation on the Black community. Be sure to cite your sources. [1,000 word maximum]
  3. For which cohort do you desire to be considered?
  4. Please select all Fellowship opportunities for which you'd like to be considered.