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Introducing the New EPA Leadership Development Institute

Sharon Ridings, National Training Manager
EPA Leadership Institute

In August 2006, EPA’s Deputy Administrator, Marcus Peacock announced the establishment of The EPA Leadership Development Institute (LDI).  “The Institute’s creation lays a cornerstone essential to the success of our strategic workforce planning efforts.  Specifically, The EPA Leadership Development Institute will build on the work already begun to provide supervisors, managers, and executives -- a key mission-critical occupational group -- with the tools they need to effectively lead our staff and manage our fiscal resources in a time of changing environmental challenges.”

The LDI’s concept is not traditional.  There will be no central campus or buildings.  Instead, the Institute will be built on two conceptual premises.  The first premise is that there needs to be an organized curriculum of developmental opportunities tailored to cover the skills and knowledge EPA’s leadership corps needs to be successful  -- for example, skills and knowledge in areas such as effective communications, managing teams, managing with a results-focus, and working successfully with the Agency’s administrative, information technology, and budget systems.  Too often, our Agency’s leaders are left on their own to identify and acquire these skills and this information.  That needs to change.  This process will help leaders focus specifically on those skills and knowledge EPA expects its leaders to possess. 

The Institute’s second fundamental premise is that EPA’s leaders carry with them a strong commitment and identification with EPA’s mission.  Because of this commitment, EPA’s leaders readily understand that their own development is part of their job.  Our goal is to develop a top notch Agency Management Team.

The development programs that are included in the EPA LDI are:  Administrative Development (GS 1-11); Professional Development (EPA Intern and Presidential Management Fellows); Mid-Level Development (GS 7-15 non-supervisory); Management Development (GS 12-15 supervisory); and Executive Development (GS 14-SES).  Each program has a unique set of skill development exercises to enhance the overall professional skills and competencies  of EPA employees.

The EPA Leadership Development Institute will include a new approach to leadership development for supervisors and managers.  The LDI has followed up on a recommendation by EPA’s Human Resources Council (HRC) at its Spring 2006 meeting, to offer a complete range of developmental activities addressing the needs of newly appointed managers and supervisors within the Agency – a key segment of the leadership corps.  The EPA Successful Leaders Program (SLP) will be “housed” in the EPA Leadership Development Institute and will address the full range of communications, situational leadership, and coaching/mentoring skills needed by our first-line supervisors, requiring about 80 hours of classroom time.  The EPA Leadership team has fully endorsed the HRC’s recommendation of the development of EPA’s new supervisors and the curriculum that has been designed by the Institute’s staff to fulfill the HRC’s mandate.  In addition, effective October 1, 2006, all newly appointed managers and supervisors are required to participate in the Successful Leaders Program.

Components of the LDP include:

Self-Assessment Competency Tool
Individual Development Plan
Successful Leaders Process-module 1 (4 1/2-day workshop)*
Successful Leaders Process-module 2 (4-day workshop)*
Mentoring – each supervisor is assigned a mentor to assist them during their first year
New Supervisory Orientation Session
Coaching – at least three one-on-one sessions with a certified executive coach
E-Learning – three on line workshops
Access to an on-line Supervisory Toolkit
Ongoing Supervisory Feedback
Ongoing measurement surveys to identify progress and program effectiveness
360º assessment at the end of their first year in the supervisory role
Mini 360º assessment after 18 months to measure sustained learning

* Classroom sessions are non-consecutive.

EPA Leadership Development Centers

The EPA LDP “classroom workshop activities” will be facilitated at three locations:  Washington, DC (HQ); Kansas City, MO (Region 7); and San Francisco, CA (Region 9).  Sessions may be offered in other locations if the sponsor has a sufficient number of participants to support the workshops.


Costs associated with the EPA LDP are approximately $2,500.00 per person, plus travel expenses to the workshop delivery sites.  Procedures for transferring funds will be sent to each location prior to the October 1, 2006 launch date.  Please include funding for the EPA Leadership Development Program as an important investment during your budget planning process.


Enrollment into the EPA Leadership Development Program will commence October 1, 2006.  All newly appointed managers and supervisors will be expected to enroll within 30 days of appointment.  Enrollment procedures, along with the schedule of activities, are being finalized and will be made available prior to the October 1, 2006 launch.  Existing supervisors are also welcome to participate in this unique development program.

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