Next Gen Voices: A Funder Backs a New D.C. Internship Program for Millennials

Here's a sweet deal for the right kind of college kid: Go to Washington, D.C. for the summer, learn about public policy and beef up their resume, earn a $5,000 stipend, and even possibly have their airfare covered. It will all be part of the package for the first crop of Young Invincibles Scholars.

Young Invincibles (YI), a national millennial research and advocacy group, and the Cognosante Foundation, will launch a new fellowship program for college students this summer. Dubbed YI Scholars, the program will give primarily first-generation college students the opportunity to learn a range of skills, from research and public policy to business skills, while experiencing life and work in the nation's capitol.

Who is behind this initiative? This new launch is being funded by the Cognosante Foundation. This foundation is the charitable arm of Cognosante LLC, a leading provider of consultation in healthcare technology and business process outsourcing, specializing in health reform initiatives.

The Cognosante Foundation is very new, starting in 2012 with initial seed funding from Cognosante CEO Michele Kang and President Susan Fox, and is now also funded by charitable gifts from Cognosante employees and contributions from external donors. The foundation is "dedicated to improving the lives of veterans, children, and the underprivileged" and works to promote "dignity, independence, and growth through employment, healthcare, and education."

And who are the Young Invincibles? This organization was formed in 2009 in response to the health care reform debate. The term "Young Invincibles" started showing up more in the news in 2009 as the nation began to debate President Obama's proposed health care reforms. That summer, a group of smart, young policy wonks formed the Young Invincibles as a tongue-in-cheek way to own the label and use it to their advantage.

The idea of the "Young Invincibles" as those young people who supposedly feel so hale and hearty that they stubbornly refused to sign up for health insurance, turned out to be something of a myth. The real issue for most millennials was (wait for it...) the cost.

YI has helped elevate the issue of cost burden for college and financial duress for millennials as part of the national policy debate. The organization has pushed for programs to make college more affordable and for more national investment in job training. It has also continued to advocate for better health care policies in the new age of Obamacare, ensuring that the millennial generation has a say in the ongoing policy debate.  

YI focuses its advocacy efforts on both economic and workforce development initiatives for millennials, and initiatives that address health care issues. Recently, YI has been advocating for policies that reduce the burden of student loans and improve consumer protections for students attending for-profit colleges. YI is also making a big push in Congress for more of a budget focus on college students. On the health care front, YI has taken on the issue of making pregnancy a qualifying condition for enrollment in Obamacare, a common sense measure that would ensure that pregnant women have access to prenatal care as well as other health care services.

Young Invincibles is seeking candidates who want to immerse themselves in the Washington D.C. experience and learn leadership and professional skills. YI scholars will be trained on the issue areas that Young Invincibles advocates for, and will explore both the nonprofit and business sectors. YI Scholars will also become part of an ongoing YI Alumni Network, so that they can get peer support as they begin their careers. This position is full-time, temporary for 10 weeks (June 1 – August 7), and pays a stipend of $5,000. The program also covers the cost of a round- trip plane ticket for the fellow to travel to DC and back home. Preference will be given to first-generation college students. More details about applying live here.