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Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP)




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SESCDP Overview

A Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) is one succession management tool federal agencies use to identify and prepare aspiring senior executive leaders for the next level of their careers.  The VA SESCDP is a formally structured, developmental program certified by OPM.  The Program is comprised of tools, resources, activities, developmental assignment(s), evaluations, and reflections on learning which, when organized and matched to an individual’s development needs, help prepare the candidate for Senior Executive Service. 

An SESCDP is designed to further develop Senior Executive Service (SES) candidates’ competencies in each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).  Graduates of SESCDPs who are certified by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Qualifications Review Board (QRB) may receive an initial career SES appointment without further competition.  QRB-certified graduates typically start their SESCDP with experiences normally obtained at the General Schedule (GS)-15 level, or equivalent.  Note that QRB certification does not guarantee placement in the SES, and SESCDP participation is not required for selection into the SES.


The VA SESCDP goal is to develop a diverse set of OPM certified leaders who demonstrate outstanding executive potential and can provide guidance and leadership to steward the cross-functional, inter-agency challenges of the future.  This program seeks to build a pipeline of skilled leadership champions who successfully meet OPM requirements and can provide a distinctive vision for VA and other agencies across the Federal Government.  Specifically, the Program is designed to achieve the following goals:

  • Identify individuals who have demonstrated strong potential for executive leadership and who possess the attributes necessary for becoming skillful and competent VA Senior Executives.
  • Provide formal interagency training and development opportunities designed to enhance and augment candidates’ executive leadership skills, competencies, and characteristics.
  • Create a pool of well-developed, qualified, and diverse candidates eligible for SES positions with an enterprise mindset to ensure continuity of operations within VA and provide support across the Federal Government, as needed.
  • Develop, strengthen, and broaden the candidates’ knowledge and understanding regarding the mission, structure, organizational issues, and operation of VA, thereby fostering executive mobility with VA and government-wide mobility to achieve continuous organizational renewal.

Additional Information

For more information on the SESCDP, please reference the OPM’s SESCDP website, or visit the Frequently Asked Questions Web page. Additionally, the VA periodically offers an SESCDP.  Please stay tuned for future communication and announcement regarding another offering of the VA SESCDP. 

Contact Info


Rhonda Carter
Education Program Manager
Enterprise Talent Development Directorate (ETDD)
Healthcare Leadership Talent Institute (HLTI)
1100 First Street, NE 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20018
Phone: 202-632-7340