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Program Details

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Program Schedule

One year.

September 9 – 13, 2024
January 13 – 17, 2025
May 5 – 9, 2025
September 8 – 12, 2025

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GS 13-15

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 Potential Program (EPP) is a 12-month competency-based leadership development program that provides training and developmental experiences for high-potential executives at the GS 13-15 levels or equivalent. The program theme is "Leading Change." The program objective is to equip leaders with the information, tools, and experience they need to serve at the highest levels.

Join the EPP Class of 2025

Apply now for the spring cohort!

The Executive Potential Program (EPP) is a 12-month competency-based leadership development program that provides training and developmental experiences for high-potential executives at the GS 13-15 levels or equivalent. The program theme is "Leading Change." The program objective is to equip leaders with the information, tools, and experience they need to serve at the highest levels.

The EPP curriculum is focused on the Office of Personnel and Management’s Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) framework with a concentration on leading change. Training consists of four one-week sessions. Program components include individual development, action learning, and assessment. Participants also complete a team project by the end of the program. Teams work together during and between training sessions using the action learning process to identify and address real world problems and to produce recommendations that have direct impact.

Note: This program is not a Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) though many of its components are equivalent to SESCDP programs. Participants learn more about the Senior Executive Service (SES) and the process of applying to become an SES.

Program Start

  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • September 9, 2024
  • January 13, 2025
  • May 5, 2025
  • September 8, 2025
  • Virtual
  • Virtual
  • Virtual
  • Virtual

This program is for you if you are interested in leadership at the most senior levels of government, learn how to lead change, connect with peers across the government, build a portfolio of accomplishments tied to the Executive Core Qualifications, and to tackle real world problems using action learning and action leadership.

The following requirements are to be met in order for successful completion on this program:

  • Retention of a Mentor – Participants 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. The mentor must be at a hirer level of leadership than the learner and preferably at the Senior Executive Service level.
  • 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.
  • Action Learning Project – Participants are assigned to a small team that they work with throughout the program to complete an action learning project. The project introduces the action learning process and benefits that include the opportunity to address current issues facing leaders in the federal workforce, provide recommendations that can have real impact, and to develop leadership and interpersonal skills. Projects are worked on during and between training sessions.
  • Developmental Assignments – Participants must complete two 8 week or one 16 week developmental assignments that provide exposure to different leadership/managerial experiences and perspectives. Participants are responsible for securing their assignments.
  • Shadow Assignment(s) – Participants complete a shadow assignment that involves "shadowing" one member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) for three days or three separate executives on different occasions. By observing executives in action, participants gain exposure to managerial duties, responsibilities and various leadership styles to apply to their organizations.
  • 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 and Presentations – Participants read and review two or more books on leadership and management issues. This component helps broaden knowledge of the field and strengthen analytical skills.
  • Program Impact Paper – Participants reflect on the yearlong journey to highlight personal achievements, lessons learned, benefit to the organization and next steps in their leadership and professional development.

Benefits to participants:

  • Are challenged to get out of their comfort zone in ways that build resilience, confidence and understanding of what it takes to be a leader at the highest levels.
  • Work on real world problems they might not know anything about with a team of people they have never worked with to produce results with real impact.
  • Learn about best practices in key leadership and fundamental competencies tied to the Executive Core Qualifications.
  • Gain insight into challenges faced by other departments, organizations and senior leadership across the government, private and nonprofit sectors.
  • Develop a network of peers they can continue to rely on for support.

Benefits to organizations:

  • Retain, support and grow their talent.
  • Gain insight into best practices in leadership across the public, private and government sectors.
  • Have access to training with proven success for 30 years.

The Executive Potential Program is strategically designed around three program components; assessment, experiential learning and individual development.

Assessments – Participants take the Graduate School USA’s premier Leadership Effectiveness Inventory (LEI), a robust 360 degree feedback assessment by supervisors, peers and direct reports if applicable. The results guide the learner and course development objectives. Additional assessments may include determining personality types and conflict management styles.

Experiential Learning – Participants engage in activities inside and outside of class designed to develop core competencies. Certain activities serve to meet these program requirements:

  • Retention of a Mentor
  • Leadership Development Plan
  • Action Learning Team Project
  • Two eight (8) Week Developmental Assignments or One sixteen (16) Week Assignment
  • Senior Executive Services (SES) Interviews
  • Shadow Assignments
  • Leadership Book Reviews

Individual Development – During the four one-week training sessions, participants receive instruction focused on the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) framework. Classes include lessons in the leadership mindset, leading in a changing environment, creative and innovative practices in leadership, and vision as a leadership catalyst. Throughout the program, participants continue to build a network of peers across agencies, challenge one another, and expand their resume of accomplishments. Participants also complete an Action Learning Project by the end of the program that requires teamwork outside the training sessions and tackles a real-world problem or challenge faced by an agency.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: To apply, you must have reviewed the program requirements, been granted approval by your agency(supervisor and training coordinator, if applicable) and be at a GS 13-15 level or equivalent. Please also check with your agency or training coordinators to determine whether there is an internal competitive process or other agency requirements for participation.

Before you apply:

  • Have your supervisor write and sign a recommendation for you that is a minimum of 250 words.
  • Have an updated version of your resume.
  • Write a personal statement that is a minimum of 250 words stating why you want to be in the program.

When you apply:

  • Select the apply button. You will be prompted to set up an MYGSUSA account unless you have one already. This will be your log in for accessing all course materials. (If setting up a new account, make sure to click on the final “submit” button.)
  • Answer questions and upload required documents.
  • Once the application is received and reviewed, you will receive notification of status and guidance on next steps. If you require ADA accommodations, please let us know and go to ADA for additional information.


Tuition payments are usually handled by a training coordinator or similar. All purchase orders should include the PO number and contact information including email and phone number. SF-182 forms are sent directly to the program email address provided in notifications issued through the application process.

Please contact us at 202-314-3580 for further information.

Graduate School USA Staff

Application Fee: $ 0.00

Testimonials icon


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"An all-access pass to the exclusive world of senior federal leadership. Provided me with the background information I needed to develop into a senior executive."

Derek Rose

Defense Information Systems Agency

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"Exposed me to individuals at the Senior Executive level who provided insight to career opportunities. I have been able to not only discuss what good leadership looks like, but see it in action."

Carolyn Keaton Culp

EPP 2021

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"When I started this program I thought I was too junior and that my participation was pre-mature. One year later, I find myself staring down a winding road with paths I’ve never noticed."

Tatum Vayavananda

EPP 2021