State Department Launches New Talent Development Pilots

As the next step in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plan to cultivate a new “professional ethos” within the Department of State, Pompeo has announced several new pilots to encourage continued workforce training. The new “One Team” training program will formally launch later this month.

During the 230th State Department anniversary celebration last month, Pompeo provided the agency with a new mission statement: “one team, one mission, one future.” Pompeo described the goal of creating a professional ethos as one to unify the 75,000-employee workforce behind the shared goals of “professionalism and integrity.”

“The ethos simply lays out commitments that unite every single person who is working on behalf of the State Department,” Pompeo said at the time. “This should happen across administrations and generations and, indeed, jobs and roles. It includes, of course, a commitment to our Constitution, to protecting the American people, to serving with, and to taking responsibility for each and every action that each of us takes.”

Less than a week later, Secretary Pompeo announced new trainings for all new hires and a new employee award recognizing employees who exemplify professional ethos.

Pompeo has affirmed previously that this training will supplement, but not supplant, existing trainings. The trainings will run through fall and winter on a pilot system before the agency finalizes the curriculum. All new civil service, foreign service, and political appointees will undergo said training.

Foreign Service Institute Director Daniel B. Smith has said the agency will be looking for ways to include locally employed staff and contractors at embassies and overseas ports in the training, according to Federal News Network.

In November, the agency plans to start offering the One Team Award.

The award will be given to a nominated individual within either the Foreign Service, civil service, locally employed staff, contract employees, non-Senate confirmed political employees, or eligible family members who travel overseas with a family member in the foreign service

Carol Perez, the State Department’s top HR official and director of the Foreign Service, said, “At its core, the award seeks to distinguish an individual who exemplifies the department’s professional ethos [and] acts as a true champion of American diplomacy and servant of the American people. This is someone whose professionalism, integrity, responsibility and leadership have enabled teamwork and results.”

Secretary Pompeo has noted a key driver for these reforms rests in a desire to re-energize the staff and recruit a new generation of State Department employees.

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