SES Candidate Development Programs

January, 24, 2011

From the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Web Site:
Plus Information about the USDA SES Candidate Application:

Candidate Development Programs

Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Programs (SESCDPs) are OPM-approved training programs designed to develop the executive qualifications of employees with strong executive potential to qualify them for and authorize their initial career appointment to the SES. CDPs include a variety of activities that prepare candidates for success in the SES. In addition, CDPs advance the goal of a “corporate SES,” a diverse corps of career executives who share a Government-wide perspective. These executives share values and a common identity that reach beyond their individual professions or agencies. They are well positioned to lead change both within their agencies and throughout Government.

All CDPs address the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) that embody the leadership skills needed to succeed in the SES. These skills apply to all SES positions and are in addition to the technical qualifications that agencies specify for particular positions. OPM’s Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications describes these leadership skills (competencies) and the behaviors associated with the ECQs.

Typically, CDPs are 18-24 months and are open to GS-14s/15s or employees at equivalent levels from within or outside the Federal Government. Each agency decides how large its program will be, based on its executive resources needs.

Here is part of the job posting to apply for the USDA Candidate Program – DUE DATE Feb. 14, 2011

Job Title: Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program (CDP)

Department: Department Of Agriculture

Agency: Departmental Management

Job Announcement Number: USDA-SES-CDP-0307

SALARY RANGE: $105,211.00 – $155,500.00 /year
OPEN PERIOD: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 to Monday, February 14, 2011
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0301-14/15
POSITION INFORMATION: Full-Time/Part-TimeCandidate Development Program from June 2011 – December 2012
DUTY LOCATIONS: Many vacancies – Washington, DC
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Applications will be accepted from qualified United States citizens.


About the Program: The USDA SES CDP is designed to provide a broad range of developmental activities coupled with formal training to enhance individual executive competencies and to increase awareness and understanding of public policy, programs, and issues. Selection into the program is competitive.  The application process progresses through a series of phases with each phase asking applicants to demonstrate selected competencies.  Only the highest rated applicants from each phase will progress to the next phase.

Candidates who successfully complete the program and are certified by OPM will be eligible for noncompetitive appointment into SES positions for which they are otherwise qualified.  However, successful program participation does not guarantee placement in any SES position.

To see the rest of the job posting click here


Back to the article:


Agencies use merit staffing procedures to select participants for their CDPs. Most CDP vacancies are announced Government-wide. After certification by an OPM-administered Qualifications Review Board (QRB), CDP graduates, who competed at least government wide, are eligible for noncompetitive career appointment to any SES position for which they meet the professional/technical qualifications requirements. (Note that QRB certification does not guarantee placement in the SES.)

Agencies may tailor CDPs to meet their particular succession planning needs and organizational missions. However, programs must include the following items required by 5 CFR 412.104:

  • an Individual Development Plan (IDP), based on individual needs and competencies;
  • at least 80 hours of training that addresses the ECQs and includes individuals from outside the candidate’s agency;
  • at least 4 months of developmental assignments outside the candidate’s position of record; and
  • an SES mentor.

Current CDP vacancies are listed in OPM’s website:

OPM periodically sponsors the SES Federal Candidate Development Program (Fed CDP) to assist Federal agencies in meeting their succession planning goals and contributes to the Government’s effort to create a high-quality SES leadership corps. This program is sponsored periodically. To learn more about the program, click on Fed CDP.

For additional help in understanding or getting started with the SES Candidate process, feel free to contact SESWriters for coaching and insight.

Learn More About SES Resumes

Add A Comment