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Camilo Benitez gains national policy experience through Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute program.

congress 2 600WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation’s premier Hispanic youth leadership development and educational organization, is hosting Dallas native Camilo Benitez, who studies finance and accounting at Georgia State University, for its nationally recognized Summer Congressional Internship Program. Benitez was one of 38 interns chosen out of hundreds of applicants from across the country to work in the nation’s capital for eight weeks, where he is placed at the Office of Rep. Hank Johnson.
By exposing young Latinos to the legislative process and strengthening their leadership skills, the program is ultimately promoting the presence of Latinos on Capitol Hill and in public policy positions.
“CHCI has granted me with the opportunity to access the halls of power,” said Benitez. “Through CHCI I am learning how to find the sources that actually shape policy and eventually influence millions of Americans. I want to use this knowledge to equip my community with the most robust resources to tackle the issues we face.”
CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program comprises four central elements:

  1. Diversity: The 2016 summer interns represent a diverse range of Hispanic heritage, 34 academic institutions, and 23 majors. Moreover, 89% come from households whose incomes are below $45,000.
  2. Work experience: Intern duties include responding to constituent inquiries; drafting correspondence and memos; monitoring hearings; conducting research, data entry and analysis; and assisting with general office operations.
  3. Leadership development: Interns attend weekly sessions and meet with distinguished leaders from a range of professional backgrounds, engage in substantive policy discussions and participate in professional development training.
  4. Community service: Interns are also required to fulfill CHCI community service hours. This summer, CHCI interns completed their community service at Casa Ruby, Bread for the City, Young Government Leaders, and CARECEN.

The selection process is competitive; CHCI receives at least 13 applications for every one available summer internship opportunity. congress600Interns demonstrate high academic achievement, evidence of leadership skills and potential for leadership growth, a demonstrated commitment to public service-oriented activities and superior analytical and communication skills. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee comprising alumni, board of directors and staff.
Individuals who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival are eligible to participate in CHCI’s internship and fellowship programs. Eight of the CHCI summer internship participants are DACA students. CHCI interns receive round-trip transportation to Washington, housing and a stipend. The nonprofit organizes similar 12 week internships in the fall and spring.
CHCI's Summer Congressional Internship Program is supported by Toyota- the title sponsor of CHCI’s Summer Internship Program, Comcast Foundation, Charter Communications, National Association of Broadcasters, Prudential, United Health Fund, Chevron, Dario Marquez, The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation, College of Southern Nevada, Marathon Oil, UPS, HEP Camp, and Southwest Airlines, the official airline of CHCI Leadership Programs.
Applications for the Spring Congressional Internship Program will open in July. The deadline is November 2016. Interested students can apply here: http://chci.org/programs/internships/

About CHCI
CHCI is the premier Hispanic nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) leadership development organization in the country that educates, empowers, and connects Latino youth by providing leadership development programs and educational services. CHCI directly impacts the lives of more than 1,600 students and young professionals each year through its fellowships, congressional internships, scholar-intern programs, Ready to Lead (R2L®) college readiness program, and R2L NextGen program. CHCI NextOpp is its latest resource allowing young Latinos to save, search and share life-changing opportunities for Latinos across the United States. The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. Visit www.chci.org, or join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.

photo: Camilo Benitez