Eligible civilian employees on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall can apply to the 2017 Defense Civilian Emerging Leaders Program (DCELP) from now until June 15 for an opportunity to develop as leaders and open up opportunities for their future.

DCELP is intended to train the "next generation of DoD leaders," according to a press release from the department's Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service. Accepted candidates will participate in a series of in-residence seminars, outside course-work and a final capstone research paper, all the while building their capabilities as leaders.

"It's all about the future of the Department of Defense," said Reginald T. Battle, lead workforce development specialist for JBM-HH's Directorate of Human Resources. "We're looking at 'up-and-comers'… What we need are really good, invested folks [who] are responsible and willing to take responsibility for the future of what we do in the DoD on the civilian side of the house."

Civilian employees in grades GS-7 through GS-12 are eligible to apply to DCELP, as are equivalent level employees. The six-month program includes 21 days of in-residence course work separated into four-day periods. During this time, participants establish core competencies for future leadership, including decisiveness, interpersonal skills, conflict management, resilience and much more.

"You'll function in a cohort, working as a team with your peers in the program," Battle said. "The whole idea is to come together to learn these competencies, because these are things that leaders should have in their toolbox."

Applicants will need to write a personal statement and get a narrative and endorsement from their first-line supervisors, as well as signatures from their second-line supervisors. (View the full application package at http://go.usa.gov/czzwm.)

There are only five spaces allocated for Army civilian employees in the 2017 DCELP, so Battle stressed that the application process will be competitive.

"You'll be competing with some pretty shiny competition, so you'll have to put forward your best effort," he said. "I'm happy to assist anyone here at the joint base [who] might want me to look over what they're planning to submit."

Battle said the DCELP is an excellent opportunity, especially with U.S. Army Installation Management Command's recent efforts to provide a wider variety of workforce development opportunities to civilian employees.

Candidates who are educated, show initiative and have strength of character will have a good shot, according to Battle.

"As a trait for a leader, I think having strength of character is really important," he said. "A person that has done things to kind of forge those attributes -- in their experience and their education -- and can articulate that in an application will have a strong chance of being selected."

He also said that applicants should pay extra attention to their personal statements and do their best to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

"Those things that really describe what you bring to the table as an individual, when you do that narrative I think that's going to be very, very important," he said.

The biggest piece of advice Battle had for applicants was to put together a clean, professional and straightforward application.

"Be concise and specific, but also flesh out, truly, what you think you bring to the table," he said. "And let somebody else take a look. Don't just rely on your own point of view."

The process is competitive, but Battle encouraged employees who think they have what it takes to apply.

"For those folks that know they're going to spend their career doing the good work that we do in the DoD, there's no better way for you to invest the energy and time than laying it on the line and putting yourself out there," he said.

For more information and instructions about DCELP, visit http://go.usa.gov/czzwA.