WASHINGTON, D.C. - District 27 U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute have joined together to launch a national campaign to recruit Hispanic students for its leadership development programs and scholarships.

Applications for the CHCI's Congressional Internship Program, Graduate & Young Professionals Fellowship Program, Public Policy Fellowship Program, and Scholarship Program are available now at www.CHCI.org. The programs are open to college-bound, undergraduate and graduate students.

"As the longest-serving member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I am always impressed by the quality, hard work, and ambition of the young leaders who have participated in past CHCI programs," Ortiz said. "Participants learn how to communicate with elected officials, gain extensive knowledge of the political process, and make numerous professional contacts.

"I urge all college students and graduates with an interest in how public policy affects the Hispanic community to apply for these programs."

The Congressional Internship Program provides college students with Congressional work placements on Capitol Hill for a period of eight weeks from June to August, to learn first-hand about the nation's legislative processes, Ortiz said.

Interns are responsible for conducting extensive legislative research, monitoring day-to-day hearings, managing constituent communications and assisting with general office matters. Additionally, interns participate in weekly CHCI leadership and professional development sessions and meet with corporate representatives, national elected officials and foreign dignitaries, Ortiz said.

Interns are provided with housing, roundtrip transportation to and from Washington, D.C. and a $2,500 stipend. The Congressional Internship Program application deadline is January 9, 2009.

The Graduate & Young Professional Fellowship Program offers exceptional Latino graduates and young professionals unparalleled exposure to experience in the underserved public policy areas of health, housing, law, international affairs, and science, technology, engineering and math, Ortiz said.

The fellowship is open to applicants with a graduate degree from an accredited educational institution or equivalent three years professional experience in chosen policy field. This competitive program is comprised of a nine-month fellowship including a substantive work placement at a legislative subcommittee office, federal agency, national non-profit advocacy organization, or corporate office, Ortiz said.

The International Affairs Fellowship includes three months abroad in Mexico or Spain. Travel, health insurance and a $2,700 monthly stipend is provided. The Graduate & Young Professional Fellowship Program application deadline is February 13, 2009.

CHCI's Public Policy Fellowship Program, conducted from September to May, provides college graduates with national hands-on public policy experience in a congressional office, federal agency, nonprofit sector or corporate setting, Ortiz said.

Fellowship participants are provided with health insurance, roundtrip transportation to and from Washington, D.C., and a monthly stipend of $2,200. The Public Policy Fellowship Program application deadline is February 13, 2009.

With more than $2 million in need-based scholarships awarded to Hispanic students since 2001, CHCI's Scholarship Program is available to students enrolled in a two- or four-year accredited college or university. Students pursing an associate's degree may apply for a grant in the amount of $1,000; $2,500 for bachelors candidates; and $5,000 for graduate students.

The Scholarship Program application deadline is April 16, 2009.

To be eligible, all program applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, have remarkable leadership potential, and have a demonstrated history and commitment to community and public service, Ortiz said.