Leadership development program broadens perspectives, management skills

Civilian Leadership Development Program participants and members from the 126th Air Refueling Wing pose for a photo during the CLDP tour at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Air Mobility Command’s Civilian Leadership Development Program is a year-long program in which participants are provided leadership training and orientations to various directorates within Headquarters AMC, various associate units and commercial partners. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Civilian Leadership Development Program participants and members from the 126th Air Refueling Wing pose for a photo during the CLDP tour at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Air Mobility Command’s Civilian Leadership Development Program is a year-long program in which participants are provided leadership training and orientations to various directorates within Headquarters AMC, various associate units and commercial partners. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Civilian Leadership Development Program participants listen during a Mindset of Leadership course at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Air Mobility Command’s Civilian Leadership Development Program offers participants leadership development courses, networking opportunities and mentorship with AMC senior civilian leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Candy Knight)

Civilian Leadership Development Program participants listen during a Mindset of Leadership course at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Air Mobility Command’s Civilian Leadership Development Program offers participants leadership development courses, networking opportunities and mentorship with AMC senior civilian leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Candy Knight)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Air Mobility Command’s Civilian Leadership Development Program is one of the unique opportunities the command offers civilian personnel on the headquarters staff interested in enhancing their professional competencies.

Open to civilians in the paygrades of GS-11, GS-12 and GS -13, AMC’s Manpower and Personnel Directorate created CLDP to broaden participants’ knowledge of the AMC mission, structure and business activities of key organizations.  

“AMC created CLDP to give civilians within the headquarters an opportunity to participate in a development program without having to sign any type of mobility agreement, which is traditionally done when civilians participate in Air Force civilian developmental educational programs,” said Darrell Raynor AMC’s Civilian Force Development specialist. 

A civilian mobility agreement is a signed document stating the employee is aware of and agrees with the condition that a position may require relocation at a later date.

During the year-long program, participants are provided leadership training and orientations to various directorates within Headquarters AMC, various associate units and commercial partners.   

“CLDP is an important program to AMC because as a civilian you get to see all of the pieces of AMC and how they fit together,” said Sara Keller, AMC Deputy Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, and CLDP mentor. “It gives you a broader perspective of how important AMC’s mission is and how you fit within that mission.”

In addition to introductions to AMC directorates, the program offers participants leadership development tools and courses, discussions and projects. Program participants also receive one-on-one mentoring sessions with senior civilian leaders, as mentorship is a key aspect in growing and developing future civilian leaders, Keller said. 

“As senior leaders we should mentor and help people achieve their goals,” Keller said. “I believe that is what my job is. Yes, I’m going to help the person do their job the right way, but I also need to help the individual get to their goals.” 

The opportunity to broaden their knowledge of AMC mission sets, networking opportunities and mentorship with AMC senior civilian leaders are top reasons many individuals choose to participate in CLDP.

“I chose to attend CLDP to broaden my horizons on the command structure,” said Joseph Schartung, AMC Communication Directorate’s Operations Division-Infrastructure branch chief. “My main take away was how diversity makes us stronger as a team. We may not all think alike, but with common goals and objectives we contribute to the success of helping AMC complete the mission every day.”

Ray Forcier, AMC Human Resource Specialist, echoed Schartung’s sentiment, stating CLDP is a fantastic opportunity to extend his AMC knowledge, while building a diverse network of professionals. 

“[CLDP] forced us out of our ‘silos’ and the monotony of the daily grind,” Forcier said. “Having a broader perspective of all organizational levels of the Air Force, as well as the opportunity to build a professional network, will serve us well in what we do today, as well as what we strive to do in the future.”

Richard Updike, AMC Geospatial Integration manager, said he believes civilian developmental and leadership programs like CLDP are beneficial not only to AMC, but the Air Force and DOD.  

“Developing the next generation of leaders is very important,” he said. “I believe we have an aging civilian workforce and we need to prepare the next generation to ensure the Air Force remains strong.”

Keller encourages civilians to take advantage of developmental and leadership courses like CLDP.

We are entrenched in getting our daily tasks done, but we also have to take advantage of those opportunities to broaden our perspectives and enhance our leadership skills, she said. 

Keller also encourages supervisors to assist their people in seeking out and making the most of developmental program opportunities.   

“CLDP not only helps the individual to achieve their goals, but it also benefits the command and its mission — and that’s a win for both sides,” Keller said. “The payback received from an individual who understands our entire AMC mission is remarkable. Those individuals are going to be so much better at the job and so much better as leaders.”