GS-14 Federal employees (and equivalents) who have executive-level duties must request a grade waiver to participate in the Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) program.

To request a grade waiver for LDS, submit the following to

  1. Current resume
  2. Memo/letter from the participant’s supervisor that clearly states how the participant qualifies for the course and why the grade requirement should be waived

What to include in the memo/letter

The memo/letter should be addressed to Dr. Heath Harding, Faculty Chair - Leadership for a Democratic Society and address:

  • Length of time the employee has been in the GS-14 position. Typically, we like to see that they have met the time-in-grade requirement that is standard for movement to the GS-15 position and are on track for promotion to the GS-15 grade level.
  • What is the individual’s leadership role and responsibilities within the agency; i.e., what are their executive leadership responsibilities?
  • Describe the individual’s current leadership track.
  • Other leadership development course(s) the individual has attended
  • What makes LDS the next step in the individual’s leadership development

There is no specific formatting guidance associated with the memo/letter.

Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 2:25 PM