Frequently Asked Questions About the Build the Bench Cohort


Who is eligible to apply to be a member of the Build the Bench cohort?

  • The Build the Bench program is designed to ensure diversity within historically underrepresented sectors in our political ecosystem. We welcome candidates from a variety of backgrounds and especially encourage those who identify with historically underrepresented and marginalized groups to apply.
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education or equivalent before the program begins on March 25, 2024. Equivalent experience includes possession of a high school diploma (or equivalent) with at least four years of personal/professional experience or service on active duty with the United States Armed Forces for any length of time before the program start date. Applicants may have studied or have experience in any field with demonstrated interest in community service, civic engagement, and/or activism.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees, or individuals who are lawfully authorized to work full-time without restriction for any U.S. employer and who possess lawful evidence of employment authorization.
  • NOTE: Individuals who are seeking consideration under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” (DACA) policy must be eligible to work and possess valid employment authorization at the time of acceptance, and must maintain continuous lawful employment authorization for the duration of the program.

What is the selection criteria?

Selection as a member of the Build the Bench cohort is based on a combination of the following:

  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further leadership growth.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service, social justice, and/or interest in progressive politics exemplified through academic, community service, personal or professional experience. 
  • A passion for learning new skills or expanding on existing skills and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.

What materials do I need to apply?

The following items are required as part of the application. No exceptions will be made for incomplete applications after the deadline at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 25, 2024. 

  • Application form [application period now closed].
  • Required documents
    • Resume: must include education, employment, and any combination of the following: volunteer community and civic engagement, extracurricular activities, honors, and special skills (2-page limit). 
    • Three personal essay responses: Personal essay responses are required and should be no longer than 500 words each. Applicants have the option to respond via video (no longer than 5 minutes each). Videos may be uploaded directly or shared via YouTube URL.
    • References: Applicants must submit contact information for three professional and/or academic references (including full names, titles/relationships, a current email address, and a current phone number for each). 
    • Academic Transcript(s): official or unofficial, if applicable.

What is the selection process like?

The selection process for our Build the Bench cohort is competitive. Applications are reviewed in a multi-step process by a selection committee composed of DNC staff across departments. Only top candidates receive an invitation to interview and are selected based on the quality of their application and demonstrated interest in leadership, progressive politics, clarity of communication, ability to challenge themselves, and alignment of program goals with the applicant’s future plans and aspirations.

Where will cohort members be located?

All cohort members must be available in-person for the Institute training program. They must also be able to relocate to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for the duration of the Immersion period. Housing and travel support may be available, if needed. 

If given the opportunity to transition to full-time employment during the Deployment period, cohort members must be willing to relocate to their deployment location from June 3 – November 20, 2024. 

What is the time commitment like?

The work our Build the Bench cohort members will do this electoral cycle is intense, yet rewarding, and requires a full-time commitment which may fall outside of the traditional 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. time frame. Additionally, weekend hours may be required. 

What do Build the Bench cohort members receive?

  • Base annualized salary of $48,000 throughout the duration of the Institute and Immersion periods (March 25 – June 2, 2024).
  • If given the opportunity to transition to a full-time position, base annualized salary of $51,000 + benefits throughout the duration of the full-time Deployment period (June 3 – November 20, 2024). 
  • Rigorous, hands-on training along the following themes: leadership development, political foundations, and position-based technical skills.
  • Networking opportunities with inspiring leaders from progressive political committees, caucuses, and social justice organizations. 
  • Invaluable connection to a cohort of diverse, like-minded individuals ready to inspire each other’s growth along their journeys into the progressive political space.