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Senior Executive Service

“We’re creating a new initiative called the White House Leadership Development Program for Future Senior Career Executives…we want people to get new experiences that re-energize them, reinvigorate them.  We want the next generation of leaders to have the experience of solving problems and building relationships across the government.  Because one thing that we have to acknowledge is that our government often statutorily was organized for the needs of the 1930s or ‘40s or ‘60s, and too often, we get stove-piped at a time when we need people with different skill sets and different agencies to be working together.” 
President Obama, December 2014


As part of the President’s Management Agenda, the Administration is focused on developing and unlocking the full potential of the federal workforce to drive greater effectiveness and efficiency within government and better harness taxpayer resources to spur economic growth for the American people.  To further this commitment, in December 2014 President Obama announced the White House Leadership Development (WHLD) Program to provide opportunities for aspiring senior career civil servants to develop their skills and better serve the American public.

We are proud to announce that following a rigorous selection process, 16 talented GS-15 employees have been chosen for the inaugural cohort that begins later this month.

The WHLD Fellows hail from a variety of agencies, functional areas and backgrounds.  These public servants come from all walks of life and from every corner of America to carry on the proud tradition of dedicating their careers to serving others.  They are indicative of the talent that thrives across government. Their interest and enthusiasm for building a whole-of-government perspective and for driving results on mission-critical priorities is inspiring. It also speaks to the need for a program such as this to provide opportunities for federal employees to build the experiences, skillsets and networks that are critical to enterprise leaders

The WHLD Fellows will serve a one year rotation on high-visibility, cross-agency projects, such as the Cross-Agency Priority Goals. Additionally, WHLD Fellows will engage in an innovative development program that is targeted at the competencies, stakeholders, and exposure to collaborative practices required of enterprise leaders.
 
The program objectives are two-fold:

  • Developing Talent: To help retain & grow top talent within the Federal government by working on the complex, cross-agency challenges which increasingly confront the Federal Government.
  • Delivering Results: Harness top talent from across the government to support implementation of key priorities and address mission critical challenges, such as the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals.

For more information on the Fellows and the WHLD Program, click here.

We are excited about the opportunity that the WHLD Program brings and its potential to train future leaders on how to address challenges that cut across agency boundaries.

We believe the White House Leadership Development Program is one way to prepare the 21st century workforce.  As the President said, a high-performing government relies on an engaged, well-prepared and well-trained workforce. So do the American people.

Photo of President Barack Obama delivering remarks during an event for the Senior Executive Service.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event for the Senior Executive Service at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Dave Mader is the Acting Deputy Director for Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget. 


My passion for building a Federal workforce that looks like the America we serve is not just about numbers. It is about the American people benefiting from the talent, the wisdom, the experience, and the insights of people from every community in this great country. We need that diversity at every level and at every decision table.

In August 2011, the President issued an executive order that called for a government-wide coordinated effort to promote diversity and inclusion within the Federal workforce. The President’s Management Agenda builds on that commitment.

At the Office of Personnel Management, we work every day to help agencies build a workforce that reflects the bright mosaic of the American people. We know we must work equally hard to be sure that once hired, employees feel included and engaged at all levels of government. Although we know there’s still much work to do, the data shows us that we are making progress on the President’s vision.

For example, four years ago, the President set a goal of hiring 100,000 people with disabilities. I am proud to say that we are more than half way toward reaching that milestone. In fact, OPM’s latest report on the employment of people with disabilities shows that the Federal Government has hired people with disabilities at a higher rate than at any time in the past 33 years.

Our data also shows a steady increase in making our Senior Executive Service more diverse. For example, in 2009, women represented just 31 percent of the SES. Today, they make up 34 percent of these senior leadership positions. We’re also making progress in improving representation along all racial and ethnic lines.

OPM is expanding the data we collect through the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to capture information from employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. As more LGBT employees self-identify through this powerful tool, agencies will be better equipped to support this important part of our Federal family.

OPM is providing agencies with the tools, strategies, and guidance to help them continue this progress. This week, OPM unveiled the REDI Roadmap, which stands for Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion, and is designed to make sure that across government, we are using the latest data-driven expertise, digital tools, and collaborative thinking to continue to build, develop, and engage a talented and diverse workforce, now and for years to come.

REDI reflects OPM’s commitment to the President’s vision of ensuring that all segments of society are represented and feel included at every level of America's workforce. You can learn more about the new REDI Roadmap at www.opm.gov/REDI.

This post was originally featured on the White House Blog.

Snippet of data from the REDI Report available at www.opm.gov/REDI


I like to think that our Federal workforce leaders know how much we all appreciate and respect the hard work they do each and every day. But yesterday, I had the honor of hosting an event where I joined the President in making clear just how much we value the efforts of all our senior leaders.

More than 3,000 senior leaders came together to share success stories and to listen to administration leaders and the President thank them for a job well done.

As the President said, circumstances such as sequestration, pay freezes, and a shutdown have made the jobs of our senior executives even more challenging than usual. Throughout these difficulties, these leaders have persevered and excelled. Through their leadership, our 2-million strong Federal workforce makes sure that each day in America, 30,000 airplanes land on time, children have clean water to drink, and millions more Americans have quality, affordable health coverage for themselves and their loved ones.

As I said on Tuesday, it is fitting that the symbol of the Senior Executive Service is a keystone, which is the stone that holds all the other pieces of an arch in place. These talented, committed, and dedicated leaders are the keystone of America’s workforce.

Tuesday’s event also gave all of us an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to building and leading an engaged, inclusive, innovative, and diverse Federal workforce. We celebrated our successes and were inspired to continue the important work of providing excellent service to the American people each and every day.

As the Federal workforce prepares to share this holiday season with friends and family, I hope you will take a moment to let your colleagues know how much you value your Federal family. I know I am grateful for the talent, the commitment, and the dedication of the women and men of the Office of Personnel Management. I am honored to be your senior leader.


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