District Leadership Program


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Jan. 4, 2019 When Superseded 2  


The District Leadership Program (DLP) is a paid internship program that provides undergraduate and graduate students training, leadership development, and on-the-job experience across various functional areas to include Human Resources, Finance and Budgeting, Information Technology, Legal, Contracting and Procurement, Education, and Legislative Affairs. This instruction reviews the application and selection process for the program and provides a general overview of the program requirements, roles, and responsibilities.

Eligibility and Application Process

Individuals who wish to be considered for the District Leadership Program (“DLP”) must:

  • Be an undergraduate (junior or senior year) or a graduate student currently enrolled and in good academic standing with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 at an accredited college or university in the United States;
  • Be eligible to work in the United States;
  • Complete and submit the application by the due date along with a current resume, transcripts, and any required essays;
  • Complete a panel interview; and
  • Participate in agency interviews during a “meet & greet.”

The application timeline varies, but individuals interested in the DLP may apply for either the Year-Round (October-May) or Summer (June-August) internship program cycle.

Internship Cycle Application Period Program Duration Total Work Hours
Year-Round August to September 8 months 52 hrs. per pay period
Summer February to April 12 weeks 80 hrs. per pay period
Year-Round Max Hour Pay Period Exception. Subject to available funding at the host agency, the personnel authority may authorize a year-long DLP Intern to work up to 80 hours per pay period provided such work does not interfere with scheduled course work.

Residency Requirement

While applicants do not have to be residents of the District of Columbia, preference is given to applicants who are District of Columbia residents and graduates of a District of Columbia High School.

Selection and Placement

Applications are reviewed by the D.C. Department of Human Resources’ Center for Learning and Development (CLD), which identifies those applicants who will be invited to a panel interview. If invited to participate in a panel interview, applicants will be asked to answer questions regarding their interests in the program, experiences, and career goals. Applicants will be notified of their selection as candidates for the subsequent “meet & greet” event no later than one week before the event date. Applicants who are not selected as candidates are able to apply again for a future internship cycle of the DLP.

Once selections of candidates are made, agencies across the District will be invited to participate in the “meet & greet” event where they will conduct interviews to determine which candidates they would like to hire. While agencies may request any candidate they choose, CLD will make the final decision on placement based on the current skills and development goals of the candidate, the agency’s request, and the candidate’s preferred agency choice. If no agency selects a particular candidate or CLD makes the final decision against placing the candidate, the candidate will no longer be considered for the internship cycle. However, the candidate may apply for consideration during future DLP internship cycles.

Program Success

The success of the DLP is a shared effort of DCHR, host agencies, and program participants working together to achieve program objectives and goals. Success can be accomplished when all parties fully participate and carry-out their roles and responsibilities.

DLP Intern

Upon being selected to become a DLP Intern at a District agency, each DLP Intern is required to sign the DLP Intern Commitment Agreement. The agreement mandates that each Intern:

  • Be on time and attend every meeting or obligation;
  • Represent the program with honor and distinction;
  • Keep a journal of reflections that documents his or her work experience;
  • Be responsible for his or her growth and development;
  • Give 100% on all projects and tasks whether assigned or self-initiated; and6. Report his or her time in PeopleSoft and complete a hard copy timesheet by the deadline.

Additionally, each DLP Intern must develop a portfolio that documents what he or she has learned and his or her experiences. At the end of the program, each DLP Intern will be required to give a portfolio presentation to CLD staff, District government leadership, and other District government employees.

Program Manager

CLD will select an individual from its staff to serve as the DLP Program Manager. The DLP Program Manager is responsible for providing information about the program; coordinating agency participation; monitoring the applications, interview and selection process for the program; determining the placements of the DLP Interns within District government agencies; establishing program related goals for each DLP participant for inclusion in their performance plans; ensuring that the training and development activities provided to DLP participants meet their intended purpose; and attending to issues with time, attendance, and payroll.

Host Agency

Agencies that would like to participate in the program must notify CLD of their intent to participate in the program. Participating host agencies must select a staff member to serve as a Host Agency Supervisor. The Host Agency Supervisor is responsible for the following.

  1. Ensuring the worksite and office environment are conducive to a positive experience by providing adequate orientation and onboarding;
  2. Establishing a performance plan for the Intern within the first week of the internship;
  3. Engaging the DLP Intern(s) at the agency by providing meaningful job experiences, interactive workshops, and other experiential learning. This includes making certain that the DLP Intern(s) is released to attend any approved program-sponsored activities;
  4. Promoting the professional and personal development of the DLP Intern(s) by encouraging him or her to take courses that support his or her individual and professional interests; allowing him or her to observe and, when possible, contribute to ongoing operations; and exposing him or her to career opportunities within the District government;
  5. Reviewing and signing off on bi-weekly timesheets for the DLP Intern(s); and 
  6. Completing an end-of-program performance evaluation for the DLP Intern(s) and a survey that will help CLD identify future program needs and/or modifications.

Appointment Types, Grade, and Benefits

Depending on the program cycle, DLP participants will be hired into either full-time or part-time temporary appointments. Undergraduate DLPs are appointed at Grade 5, Step 1 on the Non-Union Career Service Schedule. Graduate Students are appointed at Grade 7, Step 1 on the Non-Union Career Service Schedule. The following outlines the approved appointment types by internship cycle and associated benefits:

Internship Cycle Application Period Program Duration Benefits and Leave
Year-Round Part-Time Temporary Max 52 hrs./pay period Annual and Sick Leave, Holiday Pay, Administrative Closing Pay, and ACA Health Benefits
Summer Full-Time Temporary NTE 89 Days 80 hrs./pay period Annual and Sick Leave, Holiday Pay, Administrative Closing Pay, and ACA Health Benefits
Holiday Leave and Administrative Closing Pay: DLP participants will only be provided pay for Holidays and Administrative Closings when their scheduled tour of duty falls on that day. For example, if an Intern is scheduled to work Monday through Thursday, and Monday is a Holiday, they would be entitled to Holiday Pay. However, if there was an unplanned administrative closing on Friday, they would not be entitled to receive Administrative Closing Pay, because they were not scheduled to work.
Year-Round Max Hour Pay Period Exception. Subject to available funding at the host agency, the personnel authority may authorize a year-long DLP Intern to work up to 80 hours per pay period provided such work does not interfere with scheduled course work.

Annual and Sick Leave

Year-Round DLP participants will accrue one (1) hour of annual leave and one (1) hour of sick leave for each twenty (20) hours in a pay status. Summer DLP participants will only be provided annual leave when they work full-time for 90 or more days. In the event a Summer DLP’s appointment is extended to or beyond 90 days, they will receive a retroactive credit of annual leave they would have earned since the first day of their appointment.

Required Screening

All DLP Interns occupy Security Sensitive positions as defined in Chapter 4 of the District Personnel Manual. Therefore, DLP Interns are subject to both a pre-employment criminal background check and, if warranted, a consumer credit check. Certain DLP Interns may be required to undergo additional checks depending on their final placement and duties. DCHR will provide Interns specific instructions for completing the required forms after the conditional offer of employment is made. If a candidate is found unsuitable, they will not be able to participate in the program. During their tenure, DLP Interns are subject to reasonable suspicion and post-accident or incident drug and alcohol testing.

Health Benefits

Year-Round and summer DLP Interns who work for at least 90 days within a 12-month period and are paid at least 30 hours per week (or 120 hours per month) may be eligible to participate in an HMO health care plan under the District of Columbia Employees’ Health Benefits Program. DCHR will notify individuals of their eligibility to participate in the program. Additional information on health insurance coverage for temporary employees can be found in Instruction 21B-18, Health Insurance Coverage for Temporary Employees.

Creditable Service

Participation in the DLP will not be credited towards required vesting periods in the District retirement program. Creditable service will not begin for a DLP Intern unless the DLP Intern is converted or appointed to a Career Appointment (Permanent) or Career Appointment (Probational) position during or immediately following the completion of the temporary DLP appointment.

Hiring DLP Participants

DLP Interns have varying skill levels and backgrounds. Agencies with DLP Interns who perform exceptionally well are encouraged to consider those DLP Interns for positions with the District government. Agencies who wish to hire DLP Interns should evaluate their individual skills to determine if they meet or exceed the qualifications for the positions they seek to fill through approved hiring processes.


DLP Interns serve in temporary appointments and may be terminated at any time prior to the completion of the DLP’s appointment. If a manager or supervisor believes that the DLP Intern is not meeting performance or other expectations or is not engaged in the experience, the manager or supervisor should report these concerns with the Host Agency Supervisor and the Host Agency Supervisor should discuss these concerns with the DLP Program Manager in advance of having the conversation with the DLP Intern. The DLP Program Manager will follow up with the DLP Intern to discuss his or her experience, and the DLP Program Manager will communicate his or her findings with the Host Agency Supervisor and the direct supervisor or manager of the DLP Intern before taking any action. Based on this discussion, the DLP Intern may be given an alternate assignment within their current agency, transferred, to another agency, or terminated from the program. DLP Interns do not have the right to formally grieve or appeal their termination from the program.



  1. Statutory Authority: Program Manager D.C. Official Code §§ 1-608.01 and 1-612 et seq.; and
  2. Regulatory Authority: 6B DCMR § 824 —Temporary Employment


The information in this instruction is applicable to District Leadership Program applicants, participants, and participating agencies.

Additional Information

Additional information on the DLP including the application process can be found under the  Center  for  Learning  &  Development  navigation tab by visiting DCHR’s website (dchr.dc.gov). For  additional  information  concerning  this  issuance, please contact the Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to dchr.policy@dc.gov.


  1. Intern Commitment Agreement
  2. Host Agencies Roles and Responsibilities
  3. I-2019-1

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 4, 2019, midnight