Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program

About the Program

The Department of the Interior’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) is an OPM certified program that is tailored to grow and develop a cadre of highly qualified leaders for senior executive positions. The SESCDP focuses on developing the competencies in each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) to prepare candidates to lead at the executive level. The SESCDP is a 12-month competitively selected program and includes the following:

  • an Executive Development Plan that is based on individual competency development needs;

  • at least 80 hours of executive level training that addresses the ECQs and includes individuals from outside the candidate’s agency;

  • core learning sessions that focus on the competencies for successful SES-level performance at DOI;

  • a 120-day detail that is outside the candidate’s home bureau/office and differs from the candidate’s current and past assignments; and

  • a mentor who is a member of the Senior Executive Service.

The SESCDP includes formal classroom training, formal leadership assessments, executive level developmental assignments, networking opportunities with other senior executives, exposure to government-wide leadership challenges, and mentoring.

Individuals who successfully complete all program requirements and prepare the ECQ statement or template are eligible for their SESCDP package to be forwarded to OPM’s Qualification Review Board (QRB) for evaluation. Those who receive QRB approval are awarded a non-competitive certificate for appointment to a senior executive position without further competition. The certificate does not expire. Participation in the SESCDP does not guarantee an appointment to the SES.

How to be Competitive for the SESCDP

The following steps provide guidance for proactively preparing for the SESCDP.

  • Review your experience against ECQs – can you address them at the senior management level?

  • Take a proactive approach in identifying and taking on leadership roles that require you to use some of the competencies in each ECQ.

  • Participate in internal or external details or rotations to round out your experience in the ECQs where you may have less experience.

  • Participate in other leadership programs that increase your exposure to a government-wide perspective and develop your leadership competencies.

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