Mission Support Leadership Program

The federal government’s effectiveness directly depends on the strength, expertise and leadership of its mission support—the acquisitions, financial management, human resources and information technology professionals. While their work is usually done behind the scenes, it is imperative to build the leadership attributes of these professionals because of their wide-ranging impact, the interconnectedness of their business functions and their ability to positively impact strategic decisions.

The Mission Support Leadership Program, designed for GS-12 to GS-14 federal employees in acquisitions, financial management, HR and IT, prepares these mission-critical federal professionals to become more effective leaders by focusing on the four core tenets of the Partnership’s Public Service Leadership Model—self-awareness, engaging others, leading change and achieving results. By the end of the course, participants are able to make values-based decisions, use their roles to build strong partnerships, identify how to drive positive impact within their organizations and demonstrate enhanced leadership attributes.

In fall 2021, we are accepting applications for the acquisitions, HR and IT tracks only. Participants will be placed in cohorts according to their professional track, and the program includes plenary-style sessions where all cohorts join together and participate in cross-functional activities. Experienced instructors will introduce proven leadership techniques, facilitate engaging conversations and guide activities and workshops on course concepts.  

Please note that while our goal is to have full tracks for each mission-support function, demand for in-person and virtual programming may result in cohorts comprised of participants working in different functional areas. In either case, participants will learn and network with colleagues working in the same mission-support functions as they do and with individuals in other specialties.

Professional TrackSpeakers
Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals CAOs 
GS-15s/SES in field 
HR Leaders Program CHCOs 
GS-15s/SES in field  
IT Leaders ProgramCIOs
GS-15s/SES in field

We at the Partnership for Public Service remain fully committed to our nonprofit, nonpartisan mission. We also remain fully committed to your professional development. To help you achieve your agency’s mission and grow your skills as the pandemic situation evolves, you will have the option to attend the fall 2021 MSLP program either in person or virtually. Both formats will be delivered by highly experienced facilitators who use research-supported methods to help participants learn and expand their skill sets. 

The Partnership’s number one priority is the health and safety of our participants. We will follow a number of safety protocols for in-person programs. However, we recognize that participants may not be comfortable with this option yet. As a result, participants may join the fall 2021 MSLP program virtually as well. 

While we understand it may be challenging to select the in-person or virtual option now, doing so will help us create appropriate cohorts for the program. MSLP’s cohort-based structure is essential to our goal of prioritizing your learning and development. In this structure, participants journey through MSLP with the same cohort of 25-30 participants, the same executive coach and the same small-group project teammates. We ask that you make the choice to attend either in-person or virtually so we can create cohorts accordingly and allow you to remain with your group for the duration of the program. Please note that participants will not be permitted to switch between both options during the program.

Due to current pandemic conditions, and following the guidance from federal agencies on training and travel, the program will kick off virtually for all participants and will be fully virtual through January 2022. We will continually assess conditions and agency guidance to determine when a safe return to in-person programming is possible. If conditions and policies allow, we will aim to welcome participants who choose to attend the program in person back on-site in February 2022.

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Quick Details


October 2021 – April 2022




Virtual and in-person sessions


Leaders of acquisitions, HR or IT teams, leaders of supervisors and technical experts who lead projects, typically at the GS-12 to GS-14 level

Details PDF


For more information contact Diana Starkes at [email protected] or call (202) 292‑1014.

How to Apply

Completed applications must include: 

  • Personal information 
  • Professional experience 
  • Development goals for the program 
  • A current resume 
  • Supervisor endorsement 

Applicants should carefully consider short-answer responses to ensure their government career goals align with the high expectations of MSLP participants.  

Program content is geared toward individuals with the experience and desire to take on leadership positions or roles of increased responsibility. We have high standards for all participants and evaluate their applications to ensure they will be able to contribute fully to the program.  

Applicants can save their application progress at any point and return to complete it at any time. 

Please note, many agencies have specific application guidelines for their employees. Before submitting your application, please make sure that you are following your agency’s internal guidelines and that you have permission from your agency’s leadership to participate in this program.

For acquisition professionals: At the time of application, applicants should possess an FAC-C Level II or equivalent certification. Please be aware that different agencies may require a higher level of qualification to meet their own guidelines.

“This was a fantastic program. A must have for any HR professional that wishes to advance to the next level.”

-Former HR participant

“This is a great program for all acquisition professionals who aspire to be future leaders.”

— Former LEAP participant

Program Structure

Participants will meet virtually for five three-day sessions over the six-month period.  

Participants will be placed in cohorts according to their professional track, and the program includes plenary-style sessions where all cohorts join together and participate in cross-functional activities. Experienced instructors will introduce proven leadership techniques, facilitate engaging conversations and guide activities and workshops on course concepts.  

360 Leadership Assessment

Participants complete a self-assessment based on the Partnership’s Public Service Leadership Model competencies and received feedback from peers, supervisor(s) and direct reports on their demonstration of these competencies.

Executive Coaching

Using results from their personal 360 leadership assessment, participants are paired with an executive coach for a one-hour, one-on-one coach session to discuss their individual development and address their current workplace challenges.   

Peer Workshops

Within their cohorts, participants brainstorm ideas and share best practices through in-class group coaching scenarios and break-out group discussions. 

Cross-function Networking

Participants engage in networking activities that enhance knowledge sharing and build partnerships across different cohorts.   

Session Pre-work

Prior to each session, participants read articles and watch videos, which set the context for the upcoming session.

Guest Speakers

Participants will hear from guest speakers with extensive federal government and private sector expertise who will provide real-world perspectives on identifying and solving public sector challenges.

Session Details

While each program cohort focuses on the developing the same leadership competencies, each cohort will also focus on specialty area content that focuses on each professional track’s unique interests and needs. All in-person sessions will be held in Washington, D.C.

Participants will choose to participate in the program either virtually or in person. Please note that participants will not be permitted to switch between both options during the program.

A mandatory orientation session will be held virtually on October 6, 2021, from 1-2:30 p.m. EDT.

Session 1: October 12-14, 2021 (Virtual)

Defining your Leadership Style
  • Understand the significance of emotional intelligence in the workplace 
  • Commit to personal development through continuous learning 
  • Increase self-awareness through exploration of core values and motivations 

Session 2: November 30-December 2, 2021 (Virtual)

Developing High Performing Teams
  • Identify techniques to support productive teamwork 
  • Cultivate relationships to achieve buy-in with stakeholders 
  • Develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies to maximize cohesion and effectiveness of a team 

Session 3: January 18-20, 2021 (Virtual)

Championing a Culture of Change
  • Identify ways to drive change from your level 
  • Acquire techniques to establish credibility and effectively persuade others 
  • Support an innovation mindset and risk-taking on your team 

Session 4: March 1-3, 2021

Results Driven Decision-Making
  • Learn techniques to hold yourself and your team accountable for achieving results  
  • Define ways to make data-driven, customer-focused decisions 
  • Understand how to achieve outcomes while navigating the federal environment 

Session 5: April 5-7, 2021

Building a Strategic Mindset
  • Develop a plan for being more strategic and consultative in the workplace  
  • Explore how to build and maintain resilience throughout your career 
  • Solidify personal leadership aspirations 


Members from the Partnership staff will work with you throughout the Mission Support Leadership Program to ensure that your experience goes smoothly.