Learn Earn Advance Prosper (LEAP) Academy


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Feb. 1, 2017 When Superseded 2  


The Learn Earn Advance and Prosper (LEAP) Academy provides unemployed District residents an opportunity to participate in a one year training and on-the-end work experience program. The D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) works closely with the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide job skills training to participants and coordinates the administrative onboarding processing of participants throughout D.C. government. This instruction reviews the onboarding process for the program and provides a general overview of the program requirements, roles, and responsibilities.

Selection and Placement

DOES receives requests from agencies to host the LEAP program on a continuous basis. Based on requests received, and the availability of funding, DOES works with DCHR to competitively select District residents from various employment programs such as the American Jobs Center, Project Empowerment, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Office of Youth Programs, and the Senior Community Service Employment Program to participate in the D.C. LEAP Academy. After initial screening is complete, DCHR arranges for interviews with the respective agency. Candidates who, with on-the-job training and education, could potentially meet the agency’s talent needs are preferred; however, agencies also give weight to the desire of the candidate to learn new skills. Once the agency notifies DOES of their selection, DCHR completes all necessary processing and onboarding.


All individuals selected to participate in the LEAP program will receive a contingent offer of employment letter. The offer of employment will be conditional upon satisfactory completion of general suitability screening and, as applicable, enhanced suitability screening. Participants are responsible for completing any requested employment-related paperwork in a timely manner and ensuring they are present to any mandatory orientations. Once all candidates are cleared to start, DCHR will process the initial personnel action and notify agencies of the official start date.

Enhanced Suitability Screening

LEAP participates may be required to undergo enhanced suitability screening, as identified in Chapter 4 of the District Personnel Manual, based on their placement. Screening may include, but is not limited to, pre-employment and periodic criminal background checks, drug and alcohol testing and, if warranted, a consumer credit check. 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, based on their designated position type, interns will be subject to reasonable suspicion and post-accident or incident drug and alcohol testing. All required checks must be completed before the start date.

Appointment Types, Grade, and Benefits

LEAP participants are hired as part-time temporary appointments and may work up to 36 hours/week. LEAP appointments are made at Grade 4, Step 1 on the Non-Union Career Service Salary Schedule for a period of one year.

Annual and Sick Leave

LEAP 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.

Health Benefits

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 and Probationary Periods

Participation in LEAP will be credited towards required vesting periods in the District retirement program so long as the participant is converted or appointed to a Career Appointment (Permanent), Career Appointment (Probationary), or an appointment of more than one year immediately following the completion of the temporary LEAP appointment. The time in the LEAP program is creditable towards the completion of a probationary period as provided in § 813.15 of Chapter 8 of the D.C. personnel regulations, Career Service.

Holiday Leave and Administrative Closing Pay: LEAP 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.

 Extensions of LEAP Appointments

LEAP appointments shall not be extended. However, agencies may consider LEAP participants for employment through approved hiring processes.

Program Success

The success of the LEAP program is a joint effort of DCHR, host agencies, DOES and program participants. Success can be accomplished when all parties fully participate and carry-out their roles and responsibilities.

DCHR Responsibilities

DCHR is responsible for managing the day-to-day aspects of the LEAP program. This includes providing ongoing training and development, engaging in LEAP intern performance management, and providing assistance to agencies. These responsibilities are shared between the Center for Learning and Development, by way of the LEAP Program Manager, and the Human Resources Solutions Administration.

LEAP Program Manager

CLD will select an individual from its staff to serve as the LEAP Program Manager. The LEAP Program Manager is responsible for the ongoing development and monitoring of LEAP participants. This includes hosting the required training sessions, overseeing the worksite experience, establishing program-related goals for each LEAP participant for inclusion in their performance plans; ensuring that the training and development activities provided to LEAP participants meet their intended purpose; facilitating the performance management process; ensuring LEAP participants have the tools they need to succeed; and assisting participants in identifying permanent employment.

Human Resources Solutions Administration (HRSA)

HRSA will manage the onboarding process by making sure the required screening and employment paperwork is complete; processing the initial personnel action; working with agencies on a continuous basis to troubleshoot personnel issues such as leave accrual, time, and attendance matters; and assisting with any request to convert or terminate a participant from the program.

Host Agency Responsibilities

Agencies that would like to participate in the program must submit a memo of request to DOES along with a letter of intent. 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 and providing continuous feedback on their performance;
  3. Engaging the LEAP Intern(s) at the agency by providing meaningful job experiences, interactive workshops, and other experiential learning. This includes making certain that the LEAP Intern(s) is released to attend any approved program-sponsored activities; and
  4. Reviewing and signing off on bi-weekly timesheets for the LEAP Intern(s).

DOES Responsibilities

DOES is responsible for administering the grant funding that supports the LEAP program, certifying candidate eligibility to participate in the program, and monitoring the program activities for reporting purposes. DOES is also responsible for assisting LEAP participants in the job search process as necessary.

Hiring LEAP Participants

Agencies with LEAP interns who perform exceptionally well are encouraged to consider those interns for positions with the District government. Agencies who wish to hire 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.


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



  1. Statutory Authority: 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 LEAP Academy participants and participating agencies.

Additional Information

Additional information on the LEAP including the application process can be found under the Department of Employment Services website by visiting does.dc.gov/leap.

For additional information concerning this instruction, please contact DCHR’s Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to [email protected].


  1. I-8-76