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Program Details

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Program Schedule

Nine months.

September 16 - 20, 2024
December 16 - 20 , 2024
March 10 – 14, 2025
June 9 -13, 2025

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GS 11-13

or equivalent

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13.6 CEU

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Course ID


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Tuition covers all materials. (Travel is not included)

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Program Description

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is a nine-month competency-based leadership development program that provides training and developmental experiences for mid-level employees at the GS 11-13 levels or equivalent. The program theme is "Leading People." The program objectives are to help participants expand their knowledge, experience, and increase their visibility through a myriad of competency-based developmental activities.

Join the ELP Class of 2025

Apply Now for the Spring Cohort!

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is a nine-month competency-based leadership development program that provides training and developmental experiences for mid-level employees at the GS 11-13 levels or equivalent. The program theme is "Leading People." The program objectives are to help participants expand their knowledge, experience, and increase their visibility through a myriad of competency-based developmental activities.

The ELP curriculum is focused on the Office of Personnel and Management’s Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) framework and the associated 28 competencies with a concentration on leading people. Training consists of four one-week training sessions. (See Program Schedule for details on program locations.) Program components include individual development, experiential learning, and assessments.

Program Start

  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • September 16, 2024
  • December 16, 2024
  • March 10, 2025
  • June 9, 2025
  • Virtual
  • Virtual
  • Virtual
  • Virtual

This program is for you if you desire to build the confidence to achieve personal and professional goals, to gain a deeper understanding of your role in the organization, and the opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience through customized developmental opportunities.

The following requirements must be met to complete the program successfully:

  • Retention of a Mentor – Participants are required to secure a mentor at the beginning of their program so that they have a dedicated source of support and encouragement to help them reach program and career goals.
  • Leadership Development Plan (LDP) – Participants develop and follow an LDP based on developmental objectives drawn from results of the Graduate School USA’s Leadership Effectiveness Inventory (LEI), a 360 assessment. The LDP includes tracking of program requirements and how they address core competencies. Support and final approval for this plan is coordinated with the first-line supervisor and agency program coordinator.
  • Developmental Assignment – Participants must complete one eight-week developmental assignment that provides exposure to different leadership/managerial experiences and perspectives. Participants are responsible for securing their assignment.
  • Shadowing Assignment – Participants complete a three-day assignment "shadowing" a federal manager or executive at the GS-13 to Senior Executive Service (SES) level. By observing executives in action, participants gain exposure to managerial duties, responsibilities, and various leadership styles. They observe how the concepts learned in the program are applied in real-world situations.
  • Executive Interviews – Participants interview five or more federal senior executives, flag rank officers, or high-level executives who work in a private sector or non-profit organization. The executive interviews provide the opportunity to interact at the highest levels of management and gain critical information for long-term networking and career planning.
  • Leadership Book Reviews – Participants read and review three or more books on leadership and management issues. This component helps broaden knowledge of the field and strengthen analytical skills. A leadership reading list is provided at the orientation session.
  • Community Service - Participants are required to complete eight hours of community service to demonstrate a commitment to serve the public.
  • Team Presentation – Participants in the program are put into teams. Each team will deliver a presentation during the final week of training. Presentation topics relate to some aspect of leadership such as: lessons learned from past leaders, challenges leaders face in a multi-generational workforce, or the habits of an effective leader.
  • Program Impact Paper – Participants reflect on the nine-month journey to highlight personal achievements, lessons learned, benefit to the organization and next steps in their leadership and professional development.

Benefits to Participants:

  • The opportunity to create a personalized leadership development plan.
  • Building networks, enhancing visibility, and external awareness.
  • The development of critical thinking, conflict management and other skills to move into positions of greater responsibility.

Benefits to Organizations:

  • The opportunity to develop new leaders
  • Strengthened workforce performance
  • Increased organization efficiency
  • Increased exposure to new management strategies.

The Executive Leadership Program is strategically designed around assessments, experiential learning, and individual development.

Assessments – Participants take the Graduate School USA’s Leadership Effectiveness Inventory (LEI), a robust 360 degree feedback assessment by supervisors, peers and direct reports if applicable. The results guide the participant and course development objectives. Other assessments maybe used to help in the formation of teams and to develop strategies to deal with conflict.

Experiential Learning – Provides the opportunity for participants to work together to strengthen leadership and developmental skills. Participants explore and implement team building methodologies, apply conflict management strategies, and understand external awareness through the use of a team project.

Individual Development – Participants strengthen their understanding of concepts covered during the training sessions and competencies identified for development by the Leadership Effectiveness Inventory (LEI) through activities related to:

  • Retention of a Mentor
  • Leadership Development Plan
  • Team Project
  • One eight-week Developmental Assignment
  • Senior Executive Interviews
  • Shadow Assignment
  • Leadership Book Reviews
  • Community Service
  • Communities of Practice (DC-Based and Virtual Only)

Core Competency-Based Training – During the four one week training sessions, participants receive instruction focused around the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and the twenty-eight associated competencies. Classes include lessons in leading teams, individual skill building for leadership success, leading in an ever changing environment, creative and innovative practices in leadership, and celebrating success and recognizing growth as a leader. During training, participants continue to build a network of peers across agencies, challenge one another, and expand their resume of accomplishments.

Participants in the program are nominated by their agencies based on their leadership potential, or they apply directly with the support of their agency based on their personal development objectives. Employers can expect that participants in the program will be away from their positions for a minimum of three months* (four one-week training sessions and an eight-week developmental assignment). Participants can expect to work on individual and team activities outside the training sessions, sometimes meeting weekly with team members.

In order to graduate from the Executive Leadership Program, participants must finish all program components, attend all training sessions, and participate in all aspects of the program — NO exceptions. Please consider these requirements carefully before submitting an application.

Testimonials icon


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"The ELP exceeded my expectations. Each session and deliverable provided me with critical lessons, and I now have a better sense of who I want to be as a leader."

Emily Biester

Department of Homeland Security

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"This program helped bring out qualities that had gone dormant, which have now been reactivated so that I can be the absolute best person, best man, and best leader that I can be. "

Timothy Jones

Department of Homeland Security

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"My agency benefits from this program by having an employee with sharpened leadership skills, honed by constructive feedback, motivated to “give back”—particularly to future generations!"

Henry Yep

Defense Intelligence Agency