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Getting Your Foot in the Door: Working on Capitol Hill

Getting Your Foot in the Door: Working on Capitol Hill

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Getting Your Foot in the Door: Working on Capitol Hill

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  1. Getting Your Foot in the Door: Working on Capitol Hill Political Leadership Initiative & CAREER AND LEADERSHIP CENTER Access->Explore->Connect

  2. Agenda What is the Political Leadership Initiative? Introduction of Panelists: Jonathan Elkin (NYC ’06), Meghan Curran (Charlotte '06), and Amanda Beaumont (Chicago ’00) Paths to the Hill Participant Questions/Other Discussion Questions Next Steps: Get Noticed in the New Administration Next Steps: Get Ready for the Hill Next Steps: Where to Look CAREER AND LEADERSHIP CENTER Assess->Explore->Connect 2

  3. Political Leadership Initiative Teach For America’s Political Leadership Initiative aims to foster a culture of political and civic engagement among our alumni and to support them as they prepare to run and serve in elected office and become effective advocates in politics and policy. • In addition, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) was created to provide corps members and alumni with resources and social networking opportunities to effectively navigate the world of politics. Learn more at • The PLI also offers the Political Leadership Newsletter: Have news of alumni leaders, key political developments, and jobs and resources like virtual information sessions delivered to your inbox each month. Subscribe by using the “update my info” tab at • Additionally, we offer a wide variety of partnerships and programming designed to build your political and campaign skills, including School Board Fellows, Emerging Political Leaders Fellowship, Emerge, Wellstone Action, The White House Project, etc. More information on these—and other opportunities—can be found on LEE, TFAnet, and from your Director of Alumni Affairs. • For more information about the Political Leadership Initiative, please contact Angie Kuefler at CAREER AND LEADERSHIP CENTER Assess->Explore->Connect 3

  4. Jonathan Elkin (NY '06) • Jonathan Elkin is the Legislative Correspondent for Congressman Howard L. Berman (CA - 28). • As part of his new role, Jonathan conducts legislative research for constituents and attends education policy briefings on Capitol Hill and at Think Tanks and writes summary memos for the senior education policy staff. • He taught math at New Millennium Business Academy Middle School in the Bronx. • Jonathan has a Bachelor’s from Stanford University.

  5. Meghan Curran (Charlotte '06) • Meghan is the Director of Government Affairs at Teach For America where she is responsible for advocating and building support in Congress for legislation that impacts Teach For America. • Previously, she was a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Rob Simmons (CT - 2). In that role, she tracked and drafted legislation, conducted meetings with interest groups, and prepared the Congressman for debates and votes. • She left the Hill upon her acceptance into the corps in 2006. She taught 2nd grade at Shamrock Gardens Elementary School in Charlotte, NC. • Meghan has a degree in International Studies from American University.

  6. Amanda Beaumont (Chicago ’00) • Amanda Beaumont has served as a legislative assistant in Senator Feingold’s office for education, housing, labor, and American Indian issues since November 2005.  • She taught 6th and 8th grade reading, history, and language arts at Mason Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side. • She received a BA in history from the University of Michigan in 2000.  • After completing her 2 years in the classroom, she attended law school and received her JD from University of Minnesota in 2005.  She is a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois. 

  7. Pathways to Capitol Hill: How Did We Get Here? • What path brought you to your current position? • What are some of your responsibilities? What impact have you had in this position or in your political/government career? • Did your experiences in the corps influence your career path? Are there skills you learned in the classroom that have been useful in your government work?

  8. Questions from Participants

  9. Follow-Up Discussion Questions • What skills are the most critical for work on the Hill? How did you, and how do you continue to, develop those skills? • What have you and/or your office accomplished? What outcomes are you the most proud of? • How have your networks influenced your path? That is, have your contacts in previous positions/community groups/volunteer experiences led to increased opportunities? • Why do you believe that it’s important for Teach For America alumni to work in government? Is there something unique that they add? • What specific advice or next steps would you suggest for alumni interested in work on Capitol Hill?

  10. Next Steps: Get Noticed in the New Administration • General application on the Obama transition site: • Federal civil service jobs: • Every new administration releases a Plum Book ( which lists all positions likely to open; includes job and pay-scale information. Since the party in power is changing, there are many more positions available. • Make the transition: experts recommend taking any job—including volunteer opportunities--you can with the inauguration or the transition team. Volunteer positions often turn into paid employment if you distinguish yourself. Keep an eye on the inauguration site for information on volunteering: • Use your contacts and allies: • Did you work/volunteer on the Obama campaign? Other campaigns? • Do you know anyone on the transition team? Check out Anyone look familiar? Google them. Do you share affiliations with organizations or people? Use Linked and Facebook to see if you have connections. Search LEE members in and around DC and check out their job titles. Transition teams often make the hiring decisions. If you know someone who knows someone on one of the advisory committees, you have an advantage over thousands of applicants.

  11. Next Steps: Get Ready for the Hill • Use the TFAnet Capitol Hill internship guide: • Use the TFAnet guidelines for describing your Teach For America experience: • Start leveraging your networks. Have you ever volunteered for a campaign? Or lobbied at an “Action Day” for advocacy groups? Start talking to your contacts in politics, policy, or government—and learn about who they know. • If you’re not yet a member of LEE, be sure to join! On LEE, you can learn about more alumni who have worked on the Hill, find jobs, events, and campaign trainings in your area, and network with other alumni and corps members interested in civic leadership. You can check it out • If you have any questions about this webinar, LEE, or the PLI, please contact Angie at

  12. Next Steps: Where to Look? For Jobs in the House, Senate, and political organizations, check out these sites: • The Hill: • Roll Call: • Democratic Gain – jobs at Democratic/progressive organizations & political offices: • The Leadership Institute: Conservative Jobs – jobs at conservative organizations and political offices: • The United States Senate Resume Bank and Job Listings: The Placement Office maintains a resume bank of people interested in working in the Senate. The Placement Office assists Senators and Senate Committees with filling entry-level through professional staff vacancies by providing, upon request, resumes of qualified candidates. Learn more and submit your resume to • The Placement Office also publishes a weekly Senate Employment Bulletin where Senators and Committees can announce open positions. Find the bulletin every week at • For information on House of Representatives positions, please visit

  13. Thank you for attending tonight’s panel. A short survey will appear on your screen momentarily. Please take 2 minutes to respond to the questions as it will influence how we structure future webinars