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Iowa Youth Congress

The Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) was created in 2006 by the Department of Human Rights (DHR) in response to the underrepresentation of minority members in Iowa’s Legislature.  The IYC provides youth of all backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on education in the subject areas of state government, democracy, advocacy, and civic engagement.

The Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) seeks up to 100 underrepresented Iowa high school youth (e.g. minority youth, youth in poverty, and youth with special needs) ages 15-18, to participate in a year-long program which provides students the knowledge, abilities, and direction to advocate and enact change in their communities and at the state-level for issues affecting youth. IYC will continue to hold regional meetings throughout the year, will engage students in a one-day Mock Congress event, and will host a Day on the Hill event. During the Mock Congress event, the youth members present and vote on legislative issues believed to positively impact youth. The positions are then turned into bills to be presented to Iowa’s legislature during the Day on the Hill event. During this time students are encouraged to advocate for their bills supported by IYC. Advocating allows students to talk with their local representatives about the bills they sponsor in an attempt to have their proposals introduced as legislation.

Through the IYC experience students attain a variety of skills including public speaking, problem solving, and political debate in multicultural leadership settings. The students also report that IYC participation improves their interest in the legislative process and helps to provide a more hands-on learning experience in the proposal, debate, and passing of bills.

The Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) is a diverse and dynamic group of student representatives and we are always looking for students with new perspectives. Any Iowa high school student can apply to be part of IYC. There is no cost to participate and the program will provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

To see youth issues IYC is advocating for click: IYC 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda


To apply online: click IYC 2018-2019 Application

To apply via mail: click IYC 2018-2019 Application

To email: download and email to

To Fax: print and fax to 515-242-6119

To mail: print and mail to:

Iowa Youth Congress
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319

We look forward to reviewing your application to take part in the 2018-2019 Iowa Youth Congress.  Please contact our office if you have any questions--(515) 725-2836.