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eldp-white Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Background
  2. Responsibility of the Insular Areas
  3. Components of the ELDP
  4. Managing the ELDP
  5. ELDP Schedule

1. Background

The Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) was developed in response to the insular areas’ growing concerns for continuity in management and technical expertise as senior leaders retire or leave government service.

Why is the Executive Leadership Development Program important?

The insular areas have experienced many challenges in developing and retaining qualified, skilled staff. Additionally, many career senior leaders and managers in the insular governments are expected to retire within the next several years, leaving a potential gap in leadership, managerial and technical capability. The insular areas need to establish a pool of staff with potential for promotion into these key positions and groom them through training programs, special assignments, and systematic mentoring.

Who organizes and manages the ELDP?

The insular governments recognize the need to identify and develop staff to ensure that the turnover of key individuals does not adversely impact government operations. However, the insular governments lack the funding and resources to establish an inter-governmental initiative. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (DOI-OIA) has turned to its partner, the Graduate School USA, to continue managing the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) through the Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiative (PITI-VITI).

Which insular governments can participate?

All of the US-affiliated insular areas are invited to participate in the ELDP, including the flag territories (American Samoa; Guam; U.S. Virgin Islands; Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands) and freely associated states (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia). The ELDP is open to all government agencies and government enterprise organizations.

2. Responsibilities of the Insular Areas

The insular areas play a key role for the continued success of the ELDP. The governments can tailor many aspects of the participant developmental process to their unique needs. For example, governments may identify projects that are important to the government that can also serve as a developmental assignment for participants. Government mentors will provide insular-specific career guidance and advice. Participants may be required to bring government data, policies, and other public information to use in training sessions.

What is required from the insular governments?

Since the initial class was offered in 2008, the insular governments have been very supportive of ELDP program participants and instructors. The future success of the ELDP will not be achievable without the continued support of the insular governments. In 2022-23 the insular governments are expected to:

  • Disseminate information on the program and application process throughout the government and independent agencies. 
  • Encourage potential candidates to apply.
  • Support the participants throughout the ELDP program year by encouraging projects, developmental assignments, and other professional experiences.
  • Ensure the participants have support from their immediate supervisors to participate in both the on-island and off-island activities.
  • Establish clear expectations for participants’ continued employment after completion of the program and communicate those expectations in writing to the program participant.   
  • When scheduled, support ELDP activities on-island.

Who is eligible to participate in the ELDP?

ELDP application criteria are flexible. The selection panel will evaluate applicants based on their:

  • Potential for professional development.
  • Formal education.
  • Likelihood of remaining with the government after the program.
  • Commitment to government service and personal growth.

Highly qualified candidates typically:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or have equivalent professional experience.
  • Completed a minimum of two years employment with the insular government prior to the start of the program.
  • Received outstanding performance evaluations for the past two years.
  • Received a nomination to the program by the highest-level official in the department and the immediate supervisor.
  • Expressed an interest in, and demonstrated personal commitment to, public service.
If you think you might be a good fit for the ELDP, visit us online at for information on how to apply to the 2022-2023 cohort.

3. Components of the ELDP

The ELDP will offer seven primary modalities of learning: In person, virtual, mentoring and one-on-one coaching, independent assignments, project teamwork, establishing a support network, and guest speakers and panel discussions. The three in person sessions will include a blend of technical, managerial and leadership skills development, and relationship building.

Participants will also engage in virtual sessions and activities between the in-person sessions. All assignments and activities have practical workplace applications, and they will be monitored closely and evaluated by ELDP instructors

What are the components of the ELDP?

Participants in the ELDP will experience seven primary modalities of learning:

  • In-Person. There will be three, week-long in-person learning sessions. The goal of these sessions is to leverage the time together to build relationships, learn from each other, discuss materials as a group, work on team projects, hear from guest speakers, and have fun. These sessions will accommodate and leverage the unique and unpredictable learning opportunities only found when people get together in person. And there will be food!
  • Virtual. The world has changed, and virtual engagement is increasingly becoming the norm. While in some circumstances there is no replacement for in-person learning, there are certainly unique benefits associated with the virtual medium. This is particularly true once people have had the opportunity to build relationships with fellow learners. Therefore, this program will leverage the convenience and capabilities of virtual engagement for a variety of program facets. In addition, participants will be given opportunities to develop virtual competencies and skills.
  • Mentoring and One-on-One Coaching. Each participant will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with both a leadership/ executive coach and a mentor of their choosing. The benefit of these two learning modalities is they provide targeted, individual development based on the unique strengths and challenges of participants. The coach will specifically guide participants along the leadership journey and the mentor will provide context specific learning based on participants’ unique circumstances.
  • Independent Assignments. Throughout the program, participants will have numerous opportunities to work on individual assignments and development activities. One of the primary tools is an Individual Leadership Development Plan. This will serve as a framework for each participant’s development strategy, where all individual work assignments help them achieve their identified goals. Examples of independent work assignments include reading and book summaries, informational interviews with leaders, reflection papers, and journaling.
  • Project Team. This program focuses on learning through leadership in action. Therefore, participants will have two opportunities to work on team projects. The first is a capstone project lasting the entirety of the program and culminating with a final presentation to an esteemed panel of judges. The second is a week-long team project during the second in person session. Teams will be supported via team building sessions and feedback processes.
  • Support Network. Each participant will identify people within their personal and professional context to help support and sustain their learning throughout the program and beyond. The degree to which identified individuals engage will vary and be determined by the participant.
    Examples include direct manager, next level manager, team/peers, organization, direct reports, family, and community. The program administrators will also determine how to leverage the vast community of ELDP alumni and stakeholders.
  • Guest Speakers and Panel Discussions. There will be numerous opportunities to hear directly from subject matter experts, government leadership, and other key stakeholders throughout the program. Participants not only learn from these speakers, but also have an opportunity to develop lasting relationships.

What are the Proposed Modules and Course Descriptions?

The ELDP schedule, graduation requirements, and session descriptions can be found online, under the program description of the ELDP website. Please visit for additional information.

4. Managing the ELDP

The ELDP requires shared responsibility for ensuring smooth and successful implementation. All travel and administrative expenses associated with the ELDP Class of 2022-23 will be funded by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and managed on a day-to-day basis by the Graduate School USA, the Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives (PITI-VITI). The ELDP will draw heavily on the expertise and interests of the insular areas when curriculum is developed, and courses are organized.

What are the tuition costs?

All costs associated with ELDP will be funded by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, including travel, instructional materials, and program administrative costs. In future years the insular governments may be expected to pay a portion of the program expenses, such as travel, lodging, and meals for participants from their respective governments.

What is the anticipated size of each cohort group?

Ideally, each ELDP cohort is comprised of approximately 25 individuals who appropriately represent each of the insular governments, as well as technical areas, gender and ethnicity.

Are all applicants accepted into the ELDP?

Not all individuals who apply to the program will be accepted. ELDP applicants undergo a rigorous review and selection process, and only the most highly qualified applicants will be admitted into the program.

How are ELDP Participants Selected?

Completed applications must be received by the PITI-VITI office no later than October 10, 2022. Applicants submit five documents to complete an application—the application form itself, a resume, a letter of intent, a brief biography suitable for public release, and a letter from their supervisor. An optional letter of support from an ELDP graduate is recommended, but not required.

The ELDP 2022-23 selection committee consists of representatives from the Graduate School,
PITI-VITI program, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, and an Independent Reviewer. The selection committee reviews the applications to ensure they are complete and the applicants meet minimum qualification standards. The selection committee members independently review and rate each application package.

Although rating applicants is inherently a subjective process, the selection committee uses structured scoring guidelines to rate each application. The scoring guidelines are intended to provide a broad framework within which to make the acceptance decision. The scoring system and guidelines for each document comprising the applications are presented below:

Maximum Points Possible
Application Form 10
Resume 25
Letter of Intent 25
Letter from Supervisor 10
Biography 10
Assessment of Potential 20
Alumni Letter of Support (optional) 0
Maximum Total Points Possible 100

The selection committee strives to create a diverse class that appropriately represents all of the insular governments, technical areas, gender, and ethnicity.

5. Schedule for the ELDP

What is the schedule for the 2022-2023 ELDP?

September 5, 2022 ELDP Announced; Applications Received
October 10, 2022 Application Process Closes
November 7, 2022 Candidates for the ELDP class of 2022-23 Announced
November 10 - December 17, 2022 Program Preparation: Communication and complete assignments
December 12 - 17, 2022 In-Person Session #1 - Leading Self and Teams.
Class hosted by Guam.
December 19 - April 14, 2023 Virtual Sequence #1 - Leading Others.
April 17 - 22, 2023 In-Person Session #2 - Leading Institutions.
Class hosted by Pohnpei
April 24 - August 11, 2023 Virtual Sequence #2 - Leading Others (Part 2).
August 14 - 19, 2023 In-Person Session #3 - Capstone - Looking to the Future.
Class hosted by CNMI.

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