Preparing to Lead

The Preparing to Lead program is a professional development opportunity for federal employees who are interested in pursuing a career in leadership at their agencies. Participants practice strategies to help them become more effective employees and develop critical leadership skills they will be able to use throughout their careers.

Through the course of this five-month program, participants will:

  • Aspire to continue a career in government service
  • Begin to develop essential leadership attributes
  • Develop a better understanding of self
  • Understand how to build and utilize relationships to more effectively manage responsibilities
  • Think strategically about how to deliver results and contribute to maximum impact on their agency’s mission
Deadline extended: Apply by January 20
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Quick Details


February – June 2022




GS-7 to GS-11 federal employees

Program Details PDF


For more information contact Ethan Carr at [email protected] or call (202) 495-7189.

How to Apply

Completed applications must include your personal information, professional experience and objectives, up-to-date resume and supervisor approval form.

You do not need to complete the application in one session. You can save it and return to it later.

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.

If you have further questions, please see the FAQ section.

Apply by January 20

Program Structure

After an virtual kickoff session held over three days from 1-5 p.m. ET, the program continues online with semi-monthly sessions from 2-4:30 p.m. ET. In these virtual sessions, experienced instructors engage participants in conversations and activities around key course concepts. Participants will also work in teams to make a digital, group presentation on a leadership concept of their choice. This assignment will give participants an opportunity to hone their virtual presentation capabilities, an important skill to develop as federal employees must learn to work with an increasingly remote workforce.

Participants will also attend a mandatory virtual orientation session on January 28, 2022, from 1-3 p.m. ET.

Session 1: February 1-3, 2022 (1-5 p.m. ET)

Developing Emotional Intelligence
  • Reflect on your path to public service
  • Recognize the value of understanding your personal emotional intelligence
  • Understand how emotional intelligence impacts your relationships

Session 2: February 23, 2022

Communicating with Clarity
  • Learn how to advocate for yourself during conversations with superiors
  • Understand essential communication techniques
  • Learn effective conflict-management skills

Session 3: March 16, 2022

Collaborating Effectively
  • Learn how to build relationships with colleagues at all levels
  • Identify what you can do at your level to promote better collaboration within and across teams
  • Gain strategies for better managing your project teams

Session 4: April 6, 2022

Building Adaptability
  • Identify ways to stay flexible in a changing environment
  • Build skills to stay resilient through adversity

Session 5: April 20, 2022

Improving Customer Experience
  • Determine your customers and your responsibilities to them
  • Learn best practices for engaging with public- and private-sector customers
  • Reflect on the impact improved customer service has on your agency’s mission

Session 6: May 11, 2022

Navigating Structures
  • Understand your role within a larger organization
  • Identify ways to maneuver within the system effectively

Session 7: June 1, 2022

Pursuing Innovative Solutions
  • Learn how to develop creative solutions and ideas
  • Learn how agencies across the federal government are creatively addressing difficult challenges
  • Use course concepts to create innovative solutions to challenging issues

Session 8: June 15, 2022

Synthesis and Reflection
  • Reflect on lessons learned in the program
  • Discuss how to use core concepts to chart your leadership path


Members from the Partnership staff will work with you throughout the Preparing to Lead program to ensure that your experience goes smoothly.


Q: Who is eligible to apply?
 The Preparing to Lead Program is designed for federal employees at the GS-7 to GS-11 levels.

Q: What application materials must I provide to be eligible?
 You are required to submit a copy of your resume with all your professional work experience, both inside and outside of government. You must also submit a supervisor approval form.

Q: How will I know if I’m accepted?
 The Partnership will send you an email notifying you of your acceptance status within a week after the application deadline.

Q: I’m no longer able to attend, will I receive a refund?
 If you have participated in one or more sessions, we will determine whether a credit or partial refund is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can I reapply if I am not accepted into the program?
 Yes, you are able to reapply as long as you meet the program’s minimum qualifications.

Q: Is there an application fee?

Q: How much is tuition?
 Tuition is $3,500 and covers all course materials, including articles and management tools; online collaboration tools for team projects; and access to the Partnership’s resources, expertise and networks.

Q: When is the tuition deadline, and what are the options for tuition payment?
 Pay should be arranged prior to the first session (the specific date will be provided in the first program communication to accepted applicants). Your agency is responsible for paying tuition. We do not accept payment from individual applicants.

We accept the following forms of payment: credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), purchase order or Standard Form 182 (SF-182). The Tuition Form will provide instructions to request a purchase order that can be paid by your agency through Automated Clearing House transfer or check.

We will work directly with an agency contact—such as a training coordinator or human resources specialist—who is responsible for paying tuition, and we will need you to provide us with a contact’s name, email and phone number. Requests for tuition status updates should go through that contact.

You are committed to paying the full tuition once you begin the program.

Q: What should I do if I have to miss parts of a session or an entire session? Do you offer make-up sessions?
 Participants can make up a session the next time the program is offered.

Q: Where will the sessions take place?
 All classroom sessions will take place online.