AF Civilian Supervisory and Leadership Continuum

  • Published
  • Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

  The mission of the Force Support Professional Development School (FSPDS) is to provide functional Professional Continuing Education as well as civilian leadership, supervisory and managerial development using an integrated learning continuum consisting of in-resident and distance learning courses. 

  We believe Force Development is a deliberate process based on a career-long Continuum of Learning.  We execute the civilian development portion of our mission through the use of the Civilian Supervisory/Managerial and Leadership Development Continuum.  This learning continuum is designed to on-command (required) and on-demand (voluntary) development opportunities throughout the various phases of a civilian employee's career.  Our courses are adaptive to the Air Force's ever changing environment and responsive to the needs of both our functional leaders and students.  We believe that civilian employees are a vital component of the Total Force and investing in the continuous development of our civilian employees is critical to achieving the Air Force mission.  The courses and programs that comprise the continuum of learning is based on an integrated concept where each course builds upon each previous course, ensuring we deliver deliberate education at the right time and place in each individual's career.

The Continuum:            

  • Provides a roadmap for development through voluntary leadership development opportunities and mandatory supervisory and managerial training for civilians and supervisors of civilian employees

  • Provides an Air Force-sponsored and funded Associate Degree opportunity through the annual Civilian Developmental Education (CDE) call to allow civilian to earn an Associate Degree with little-to-no cost

  • Provides self-paced as well as blended learning programs that enable continuous learning and development and support student learning outcomes established within each course

  • Synchronizes civilian institutional leadership development programs to better align with other learning opportunities such as PME and CDE

  • Clarifies what the Air Force values in leadership development for civilians
  • Links civilian development to our AF institutional competencies

  • Establishes requirements and expectations for civilian development

How do I read/use the continuum?

  Courses on the continuum are categorized as either on-command (mandatory) or on-demand (voluntary) development.  The Air Force expects all civilian employees to complete on-command development at the appropriate time based on the employee's current level of experience in the  Air Force and within their specific position, career group or grade.  On-demand development provides additional opportunities for civilians who desire additional development that may enhance their opportunity for advancement or to serve in positions of increased responsibility. 

  Civilian Development begins the moment an individual accepts employment with the Air Force.  This is shown on the left side of the Continuum as "Orientation."  The New Employee Orientation course provides new Air Force civilian employees with orientation to the Air Force organizational environment and knowledge and appreciation USAF civilian culture.  

  After Orientation and continuing from left to right, the Air Force provides on-demand Leadership Development opportunities for employees who desire to establish, improve or enhance their leadership skills and abilities.  The competencies taught in these optional courses are based on Air Force institutional competencies and have varying degrees of eligibility, requirements, and expectations based on the employee's current development and experience level.  The USAF Emerging Leader course is for employees with no leadership experience, but have a desire to establish their own individual leadership style and capabilities. The USAF Developing Team Leader course is for civilian employees who wish to develop their capability to lead small teams of employees that have been formed to accomplish a specific mission.  Finally, the USAF Developing Organizational Leader course is for more experienced employees who wish to develop the capability to lead more complex positions within an organizational setting, such as Flight Chief or Squadron Director positions at the installation/wing-level or a Branch or Division Chief at the headquarters/staff-level.

  The courses that comprise Supervisory and Managerial Development are all mandatory courses based upon the supervisory status associated with the employee's current position.  These courses are designed to provide initial and recurring supervisory and managerial training for personnel assigned to first-level, second-level and senior-level supervisory/managerial positions.  These mandatory courses ensure compliance with 5 USC Section 412 and are designed to deliver the right education at the appropriate time based on each individual supervisor's experience level.

Below the Supervisory & Management Development and Leadership Development paths are voluntary courses and links to material you can use throughout your career:

    The first block provides information on the Civilian Associate of Applied Science Degree in AF Leadership and Management Studies. This is a new program that was offered for the first time Air Force-wide in the Civilian Development Education call that was released in March 2017.  This program is the first degree program in the Air Force designed specifically for civilian employees.  The program is open to all permanent appropriated fund employees in all grades, career series and pay systems.  The first entering class will be announced in October 2017 with classes beginning in March 2018.  More information and eligibility requirements can be found on the AAS website.

  The second block identifies a host of programs that enable learning for employees at any stage of their career or development.  The virtual Force Development Center (vFDC) is located on the Air Force Portal and is available 24/7.  Every Airmen is encouraged to visit the vFDC as it is a one-stop site that links to numerous self-development and institutional force development resources.  You can find links to all the courses identified on this continuum on the vFDC web site.