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One America - NASA Senior Executive Development Program

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One America

Program: NASA Senior Executive Development Program, Washington, DC
Contact(s): Vicki Novak, Associate Administrator for Human Resources and Education: (202) 358-0520 or John Pennington, Chief-NASA Executive Personnel Branch: (202) 358-1195
Purpose: To develop a cadre of qualified people, culturally representative of the workforce needed to fill NASA senior executive positions
Background Program Operations Outcomes


When Daniel Goldin became NASA's administrator in 1992, only 9 percent of NASA's Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel was comprised of women and minorities. Mr. Goldin immediately challenged the agency to increase the SES diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and gender. In 1993, NASA implemented an SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP). The purpose of this program is to prepare qualified employees at the 14 and 15 grade levels for senior executive service. The program is an essential component of Mr. Goldin's intent to diversify NASA's SES personnel and ensure equal opportunities for women and minorities in top grade levels.

Program Operations

The SESCDP offers individuals a structured approach to prepare for an SES position. The program provides intensive developmental experiences for people who are judged to have high potential for assuming executive responsibilities. These experiences, normally to be completed over 12-18 months, include formal courses and seminars, work assignments, and individual mentoring from current SES members. Program participants prepare an individual development plan with their mentors. Successful candidates can be approved by the Office of Personnel Management as eligible for placement into the SES.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

In the 1993 and 1994 classes, 88 candidates were selected for the program. Of the 88 candidates, 26 percent were minority and 27 percent were non-minority women. Of the 88 candidates 48 (55 percent) have been appointed to NASA's SES personnel. Thirteen selectees were minority and 13 were non-minority women. The current class is comprised of 33 candidates, including 17 women and minority candidates. As a result of the SESCDP and other NASA efforts, women and minorities now comprise 25 percent of NASA's SES workforce, compared to 9 percent in 1992.

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