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Training and Development Policy Wiki

Page History: Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program

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Page Revision: 12/20/2010 10:41:35 AM

Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program

Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Programs (SESCDP) are one succession management tool agencies may use to identify and prepare future senior leaders. SESCDPs provide SES candidates at the GS-14, GS-15, or equivalent levels with training and development opportunities to enhance their executive competencies and broaden their understanding of the wide range of Federal Government programs and issues beyond their agencies and professions.

Requirements for SESCDPs are found in 5 CFR 412.301 and 412.302. Agencies must obtain OPM approval before they may conduct a program or whenever there are substantial changes to the program. Agencies must seek reapproval every five years thereafter.  

An SESCDP must last a minimum of 12 months. All SESCDP candidates must complete the requirements of the program in 5 CFR 412.302 and all additional requirements established by their agency.

Recruitment for SESCDPs is either from all groups of qualified individuals within the civil service, or all groups of qualified individuals whether or not in the civil service.

Candidates from outside the Federal Government and/or employees serving on other than career or career-type appointments (e.g. term, temporary) are considered "non-status." These candidates must be appointed using the Schedule B authority outlined in 5 CFR 213.3202(j). Schedule B authority is a temporary appointment and may not exceed or be extended beyond 3 years. These candidates may not be used to fill a permanent position. Candidates on a Schedule B authority must be assigned to a full-time non-SES position.

Graduates of an OPM-approved SESCDP who are selected through civil service-wide competition and are certified by OPM's Qualifications Review Board (QRB) may receive a career SES appointment without further competition. These graduates are eligible for noncompetitive career appointment to an SES position for which they meet the professional/technical qualification requirements. It is important to understand that QRB certification does not guarantee placement in the SES. 


Solve Problems

(How can my agency's program meet the requirements in 5 CFR 412?)

To graduate from an SESCDP, candidates must complete the requirements of the program in 5 CFR 412.302 and all additional requirements established by their agency. Each candidate must have a documented development plan based upon the candidate's competency-based needs determination. The plan must address the following:

  • Executive Core Qualifications 
  • Crucial leadership challenges for senior executives
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the overall functioning of an agency so the candidate is prepared for a range of positions and responsibilities
  • Interaction with senior employees outside the candidate's agency to foster a broader perspective
  • Governmentwide or multi-agency applicability in the scope and nature of the training

Candidates must also complete:

  • Formal interagency and/or multi-sector training lasting at least 80 hours. The training must address the ECQs and their application to SES positions Governmentwide. A training experience must include interaction with senior employees outside the candidate's agency.
  • Developmental assignment(s) totaling at least 4 months of full-time service outside the candidate's position of record. One assignment must be at least 90 continuous days in a position other than, and substantially different from, the candidate's position of record. The purpose of the assignment is to broaden the candidate's experience and/or increase his or her knowledge of the overall function of the agency so the candidate is prepared for a variety of positions. The assignment(s) must include executive-level responsibilities and differ from the candidate's current and past assignments. The assignment(s) should challenge the candidate with respect to leadership competencies and the ECQs.
  • A mentor who is a member of the SES or otherwise determined by the ERB to have the knowledge and capacity to advise the candidate, consistent with the goals of the agency SESCDP. All mentors must be approved by the ERB.

The focus of the entire program should be on closing competency gaps identified at the beginning of the program. If all of the requirements are met and the candidate's competency gaps(s) have not been fully addressed, the agency will need to provide additional training or other developmental opportunities to the candidate prior to QRB certification.

Here are tools to assist with meeting the requirements:

80-hour Interagency Training Requirement:

The Department of Energy developed a document listing senior executive courses and seminars.  The document contains courses from organizations and universities by ECQs. However, this document list courses from 2010. You or your candidates will want to check the organization or university's website for upcoming courses. Here is a link to the document:




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