By Mr Marques Chavez (USAASC)August 22, 2011
WASHINGTON"Nineteen members of the acquisition workforce were among 263 federal employees, spanning 23 government agencies, that graduated from the Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF) program at a graduation luncheon held in their honor at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Aug 18.
The EIGF program is a year-long leadership development program designed to build and enhance the skills of government employees to help them increase their effectiveness in their positions and to work toward becoming an executive. The program is organized by the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to help revitalize the federal government.
"Over the course of a year, what we try to do is remind folks of the importance of public service. We refocus the emphasis on public service. It's a personal vision and a mission statement. It's thinking about how that aligns with the work of the agency," said Tom Fox, Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at Partnership for Public Service.
There are seven sessions over the course of the program year. Conducted about six weeks apart, each three-day session centers on a particular topic or theme. In each session, students are introduced to key theories and content associated with the selected topic. Practitioners from the private and public sectors that have implemented the strategies speak to the classes and explain how they make the transition from learning the skills in the classroom to implementing them into their work. The students are also given opportunities to practice the skills through interactive exercises and year-end projects.
"We surveyed all of the best practices in the private and public sector and developed a program that includes everything from formal classroom training, 360 degree assessments, executive coaching, and site visits to high-performing benchmark organizations, and mentoring and peer networking," Fox said.
"It's a leadership training opportunity. The participants focus on how to be a leader and how to enhance their leadership skills," said Gloria King, Acquisition Training and Education Manager at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC).
The individual federal agencies are charged with selecting the candidates for the EIGF program. In the case of USAASC, applications are accepted from workforce members who meet the criteria for the program. Those candidates are referred to a selection board for evaluation and recommendation. The board is a three-person panel composed of senior level individuals from the major commands. The board members review applications and make recommendations to Mr. Craig Spisak, Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management (DDACM) for the final selection of students for the program.
Those who have completed the EIGF program explain that it not only teaches and enhances leadership skills, but also provides the opportunity to interact with employees of other government agencies.
"This program was amazing because it was government wide. We could build off of other agencies and people who have similar projects or problems within the Department of Defense," said Kerry Henry, Chief, Technology and Prototyping Division, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ammunition, who graduated from the EIGF program on Thursday. "It was also great to step out of the work environment, learn new skills and take what we learned and put it back into the workplace."
Wen Lin, Acquisition Training Development Manager at USAASC, completed the program in 2010 and has been able to implement those strategies into her current position.
"You are able to see what's been done that works well and not so well. Then you can benchmark your organization. I've been able see what good leaders have done and apply that to my job," Lin said.
With smaller budgets and an increased emphasis on streamlining efficiencies, Fox explained that the EIGF program has taken on an elevated meaning.
"Right now, programs like this are really important, not just to the individuals, but to the organizations," he said. "The problems confronting our country are getting more difficult. So let's make sure folks are ready to tackle these problems successfully because we need an effective and efficient government."