HillVets Fellowship Program

Are you a Veteran, Reservist, National Guards-person, transitioning Service Member, or Gold Star family member?

Do you want to continue your service to our Nation by contributing to the crafting of laws & policies that govern us?

Is it your ultimate goal to undertake policy or advocacy work, perhaps as a staffer in a Congressional office or with a VSO?

If your answer was “Yes!” to the above, then a HillVets Fellowship just might be your pathway to that goal.

What is a HillVets Fellowship?

The HillVets Fellowship is an opportunity for highly qualified Veterans, Reservists, National Guards-persons, Gold Star family members, and transitioning Service Members to be placed in a Congressional Host Office for approximately 6 months doing substantive policy work.

(Yes – we said “transitioning Service Members” – HillVets is an approved DOD Skillbridge partner!)

There are two options for being a HillVets Fellow: “in-house” and “out-of-house”. Up to 8 Fellows can reside, for free, at HillVets House — located in the quiet, residential area of DC known as East Capitol Hill — for the duration of their Congressional placement. HillVets House cannot accommodate pets or families/children, so a Fellow can opt to undertake the HillVets Fellowship while residing instead in their own home locally.

Although HillVets Fellows do not “work for” HillVets, they are provided a very small monthly stipend for any four months of the Fellowship placement.

In addition to housing and a small stipend, the vast HillVets community will mentor you, help you tailor your resume, hone your interview skills, develop the qualities necessary to successfully navigate Capitol Hill, assist you with placement in a Congressional Host Office for your Fellowship, and support you in your search for follow-on paid employment.

A HillVets Fellow’s typical day might include:

  • Undertaking substantive policy work within assigned legislative portfolio
  • Drafting a policy brief for a Member of Congress – often on a very short timeline
  • Utilizing the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to help inform your Member’s legislative decisions
  • Staffing your Member during Committee meetings & hearings
  • Fielding contact from your Member’s constituents to hear about what issues are important to them
  • Connecting with individuals from other agencies
  • Securing programmatic appropriations and congressionally-directed spending for Member’s district or state
  • Meeting with outside stakeholders to gather policy perspectives
  • Supporting the staffers in the office during “NDAA Season”, “Budget Season”, and/or “Approps Season”
  • Attending all kinds of events – from networking socials to Congressional Committee/Caucus meetings to formal galas, and everything in-between
  • Participating in educational opportunities provided by HillVets Foundation to learn about things like Congressional procedure, the budgetary process, NDAA, appropriations, defense/veterans policy, and more

What this Fellowship is not:

The HillVets Fellowship program is not a handout.

HillVets Fellows are not simply slotted into the next office on some waiting list. You, the Fellow, are seeking placement in a Congressional office; we, HillVets Foundation, are providing you with significant support – think of it like scaffolding – in your search. We know people; the people we know, know people. We will connect you with the right people in order to achieve your goal of doing a legislative fellowship. You must be your own best advocate. (Don’t know how? We can teach you!)

HillVets Fellowship program is not an “internship”. It is not just for the summer or for a semester; you will not be “making coffee & copies”. Your placement is expected to be approximately 6 months of full-time, Monday through Friday, nose-to-the-grindstone, substantive policy work.

The timeline during onboarding & placement is never guaranteed. HillVets does not control when – or even if – Congressional offices might need an extra set of hands. But we haven’t not placed a Fellow yet…

We also do not control whether or not a Congressional Host Office compensates you; that will be between you & the office once you prove your worth to them.

HillVets is not an employment agency, but we will do everything we possibly can to support you as you strive to begin your “Second Service” to this great Nation — as well as beyond.

Expectation Management: Timeline, Goals, Placement

You should apply to the HillVets Fellowship program approximately 4 months before you would like to begin a legislative placement.

The goal is to complete the application process in 4-6 weeks, but there is always the possibility of it taking longer.

Upon acceptance as a HillVets Fellow, onboarding & placement can take as long as 2 months. The goal is to have a person onboarded and beginning placement within 4-6 weeks of acceptance.

Remember: HillVets does not control if or when Congressional offices might need a Fellow.

You are in control of where you do your fellowship. HillVets will never dictate that you must do your fellowship in any particular office. Our desire is that you find a Congressional Host Office that aligns with your own beliefs, goals, and values; that will provide you with the absolute best experience possible.

We have more than 40 HillVets House Ambassadors to whom we will automatically send out your resume as soon as you’ve made it “Hill-ready” during your onboarding process. If none is a good fit for you, then we contact the numerous non-Ambassador offices that have expressed interest in hosting a HillVets House Fellow. Additionally, during onboarding you will create your “Dream List” of offices, and we will assist you in reaching out to them.

Sometimes a person finds the perfect office on the first try; sometimes it takes several tries. But we’ve got your six; we’re with you until you find a placement that is exactly right for you!

We’ve never not placed a Fellow.

The exact length of your HillVets Fellowship is ultimately between you & your Congressional Host Office, but we believe that 6 months is “the Goldilocks Zone” (not too short; not too long; just right).

Approximately 2/3 of the way through your fellowship, HillVets will work with you as you begin searching for follow-on permanent (paid!) employment. That could end up being as a Congressional staffer, with the government relations team at a VSO, on the legislative affairs team in another federal agency, or even lobbying in the private sector. (Or you might even decide that policy-making is just not for you – and that’s okay too!) The goal is that you have as short a gap as possible between the end of your fellowship placement and your first paycheck!

Who is HillVets?

We are a network of veterans & military-connected individuals, our staff & leadership board, current & former HillVets House Fellows, all HillVets LEAD alums, and a vast number of supporters.

We are non-partisan, non-issue oriented.

We strive to increase the voice of the military-connected community in public policy-making at the staff level.

We believe in discourse, healthy debate, respect, and putting our country before politics. We are motivated and hungry. We value grit and integrity. We are adaptable, resilient, mission-focused, and team-oriented. We share a commitment to our Nation, democracy, and diversity. We have all in some way served this great Nation, and now we seek to do the same in our Nation’s Capital.

As the Honorable Chuck Hagel, Chair of our Advisory Board, says, “Don’t over complicate doing the right thing. The right thing is the right thing, and you know what the right thing is.”

Our Commitment to You:

We are in this for the long haul. We work to help our Fellows today become the leaders of tomorrow. We provide safe, furnished, clean, free housing as well as a stipend intended to cover your basic food needs. We strive to keep you involved in the HillVets Community as alumni and to provide you with continued training as well as the opportunity to become a mentor as you succeed professionally. We are committed to plugging you into the leaders that will mentor you, train you, and show you a way that is consistent with your values.

Apply Today!

Special Thanks to Our Proud Partners and Sponsors!

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Success Stories

“The HillVets House Fellowship was a transformative experience that marked a fundamental transition in my professional career. Their team was tireless in their dedication to helping me realize my potential, and I’m humbled by the opportunities it has provided. My time as a fellow was a Bootcamp of the legislative process that formed the foundation of my current work, and the experience surpassed my expectations. Not only did the fellowship help build my network and refine my professional development, but it became a springboard to enter a master’s program and resulted in a full-time role as a policy advisor. I’m grateful for the experience, and it’s an honor to continue to serve not only the nation but the veteran community through ongoing HillVets programming.”

Essam Attia – Legislative Assistant in Office of Senator Bernie Sanders; MA Candidate in Security Policy Studies at The George Washington University

“When I became a Gold Star spouse, I received help from many organizations and individuals, and my interest was to pay it forward by solidifying a career based on service. HillVets has been instrumental in taking my career to the next level by providing guidance, connections, and opportunities. Currently, I am the Executive Director of Military and Veteran Programs for Cybercrime Support Network, an organization where being a servant leader is the main expectation. Here I am able to deliver a program that directly benefits our community through more than forty VSOs, MSOs, government, and private sector partners.”

Ursula Palmer – Executive Director, Military & Veteran Programs, Cybercrime Support Network

“My experience as a HillVets Fellow was exceptional. The ability to learn the inner workings of the legislative branch by formal education and firsthand experience, followed up with concrete opportunities to continue service on Capitol Hill is unique among government fellowships.  The fellowship shaped me as a veteran, and (feedback later demonstrated) my status as a veteran left a lasting effect on the member of congress with whom I served. HillVets opened doors to a career path that otherwise would have taken much longer to materialize.”

Jason Goldberg – Research Scientist/Engineer in Support of DARPA

“HillVets is a growing organization, but the organization is growing intelligently. Since I left the Army, I wanted to help the veteran community. HillVets bridged the gap for me by selecting me to work for Congress to fight and advocate for veteran rights. While I was a fellow, HillVets provided me with more connections, resources, tools, and support to thrive in the workforce.”

Keronica Richardson – Assistant Director. Women and Minority Veterans Outreach, The American Legion

“HillVets has played an instrumental role in my DC experience. The summer spent as a HillVets fellow inspired me to pursue a long-shelved goal – earning my Master’s degree – and my cohort encouraged and mentored me throughout the application process. Additionally, through continued volunteering with HillVets, I have come to appreciate the vast impact a small organization can have  – in HillVets’ case, helping veterans to seek continued service to our country as policy advisers. The HillVets community is a team; we strive to bring out the best in each other and to encourage endurance in the face of setbacks. I am grateful for the time spent with, and lessons learned from, this incredible community, one in which I will always belong.”

Abigail Gage – Masters Candidate JHU-SAIS; Former HASC Staff Member