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GOAL Academy Eligibility & FAQ

Eligibility Criteria

The GOAL Academy is not geared toward specific positions or disciplines; rather, this innovative program targets any NPS employee who meets all of the following criteria:

  • You are currently employed as a permanent full-time NPS employee
  • Your current position is a GS-9 through GS-12, WG-8 and above, WL-6 and above, or WS-6 and above
  • You have a minimum of three years of service as a permanent full-time NPS employee

Your Questions

I am close to meeting the eligibility criteria, but I don’t exactly meet all of them. Should I still apply? Yes. We recommend that you apply and explain your situation in your application. The selection committee will review and consider your entire application to determine eligibility and best-fit.

Can more than one employee from a park apply? Yes. We recommend that all applicable candidates apply. Typically, no more than one employee from any given unit is accepted into this highly competitive program. If your unit limits the number of applicants, this greatly reduces your unit’s chances of having anyone accepted into the program.

What tips do you have for my application? Start early and prepare your responses in advance.

Who pays for the program? Funding is shared between the regions and the Washington Office Leadership Development Group (WASO-LDG). All travel and travel ceiling is covered by WASO-LDG while the regional offices contribute toward tuition costs. The exception is the Pacific West Region in which the benefitting account (park or program) pays for the tuition costs (not the region) and the remaining costs are covered by WASO-LDG.

I’ve applied multiple times and have yet to be accepted. Is that typical? Yes. This is a highly competitive program meaning that there are many applications for a limited number of spots. Most candidates apply multiple times before they are accepted.

How many people are accepted? A total of 50 participants are accepted each year, some from each region. The number of participants selected from each region is based on the total number of employees in that region. Regions with larger numbers of employees have more spots in the program compared to regions with fewer employees.

I am a term employee. Am I eligible? No, this program is for permanent full-time employees.

I am in a permanent position subject to furlough. Am I eligible? Yes, so long as you are able to meet the program requirements. When you apply, you can explain your situation in your application.

Are U.S. Park Police (USPP) employees eligible? Yes, USPP employees that are the equivalent of a GS-9 through 12 are eligible (Lieutenant and Captain).

I am an employee of the Denver Service Center. In my application, what “region” do I fall under? The Washington Office (WASO).

In the past, I was a GS-9 at NPS for more than 3 years and am now at a lower grade. Am I eligible? We recommend that you apply and explain your situation in your application. The selection committee will review and consider your entire application to determine eligibility and best-fit.

I am close to retirement. Can I still apply? Yes.

Is there a minimum amount of time I need to stay in my position after participating in the program? No.

Is there a leadership program for GS-5s and 7s? Yes, check out the Aspiring Leadership Development Program.

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