PCO Leadership Development Program


The PCO-LDP is a competitive, 12-month (minimum), full-time NOAA leadership development program. A participant in the PCO-LDP will work in the Program Coordination Office to provide staff support to the Offices of the Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Under Secretary, and Chief of Staff located at NOAA Headquarters in downtown Washington, DC. The Program Coordination Office serves as a critical liaison between NOAA’s senior corporate leadership and the management and staff of the Line Offices.

The PCO-LDP is a development opportunity demanding trustworthiness, dedication and hard work. Successful completion of the PCO-LDP demonstrates the capabilities of the individual to move to positions of greater responsibility within NOAA. The program provides a series of learning and training experiences for select NOAA employees who show high potential for assuming leadership responsibilities in the agency.

PCO-LDP graduates interested in future leadership positions may compete for them under merit promotion procedures when openings occur.


Applications will be accepted from all qualified individuals during a Line Office PCO-LDP Call for Applications. Applications must be received by the closing date. Applicants must meet the qualification requirements as outlined in the call letter to be considered for selection into the PCO-LDP.

Applicants must currently be at a GS 11/12/13/14 or equivalent level.

This PCO-LDP is a fast-paced development program for self-motivated, energetic NOAA employees who are interested in a rewarding, high impact career experience.

Successful applicants will work long hours and irregular schedules to support highly visible, politically sensitive projects that may have high impact on NOAA’s ability to accomplish its mission. This assignment will require interacting with many key decision makers on issues of critical importance to NOAA.

Listed below are attributes identified by NOAA leadership that successful PCO-LDP participants should possess.

The successful candidate will demonstrate knowledge of:

The successful candidate will have a documented history of:

The successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to:

Program Purpose

The purpose of the PCO-LDP is to identify and develop potential future NOAA leaders. This is accomplished by:

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for the PCO-LDP participant are to:

Benefits to Participants and Line Offices

Participant Benefits

The PCO-LDP participant has the opportunity to:

Line Office Benefits

The PCO-LDP provides Line Offices with:

Key Developmental Components

The PCO-LDP provides the following key developmental components:

Application Process

To apply, NOAA employees must complete the PCO-LDP Application Form [PDF] by the closing date of the call for applications.

Selection Process

All interested applicants must secure their supervisor’s and Office/Center Director’s approval prior to applying for the program. Candidates selected from outside the Washington, DC metro area are entitled to the appropriate travel and per diem costs.

After an initial review of all applications, a small group of candidates possessing the requisite background (skills, education, experience, etc.) for this assignment will be selected. This group of candidates will be given a “shadowing” opportunity prior to any interview or selection. This shadowing opportunity will include working for 2-3 days with their Line Office’s current PCO representative as well as meeting with Line Office leadership. This will allow candidates to more fully understand the requirements and benefits of this assignment.

Prior to a final selection, candidates will be interviewed in person by NOAA/Line Office management and PCO representatives. PCO-LDP applicants selected for the program will complete one week of required training (in a “shadowing” capacity) prior to reporting for their assigned duties.

Selected individuals remain incumbent in their current position of record until they either return to their home office or are assigned to another position following the completion of the PCO-LDP.