The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

48 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Although there may not be a YouTube video to teach diplomacy, in today’s world there are many alternate ways to learn beyond the traditional classroom. The main elements of the new Learning Policy include: • The new Core Curriculum for mid-career professionals. • Up to 40 hours of dedicated learning hours per employee per year. • Expanded use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for all employees. • Additional professional development and training options, especially in support of critical mission areas and Civil Service professional mobility. The new policy applies to all State Department U.S. directhire employees and eligible family members (EFMs) on family member appointments (FMAs). The department is encouraging overseas posts to adopt similar practices to the extent possible for locally employed (LE) staff and other employed EFMs, in accordance with other agency policies and local labor laws. To help employees navigate the new policy, FSI and the Bureau of Global Talent Management put together an internal “Learning@State” website that outlines the policy, along with frequently asked questions, and links to relevant learning materials. Cynthia Davila, a management-coned Foreign Service officer currently serving in Mexico City, helped to craft the new Learning Policy while serving domestically in the Director General’s Innovation Unit. Reflecting on the importance of the new policy, she said: “The Learning Policy widens the aperture of what learning can look like beyond the traditional classroom—coaching, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, etc. Consciously integrating learning into the continuous professional development of our employees ensures that State’s workforce upskills and is fully prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.” The general services section in Mexico City has already begun implementing the Learning Policy, and Davila hopes other sections will follow their lead. The Core Curriculum Early in 2023, FSI introduced the Core Curriculum to help employees build the skills they need to succeed in their careers. A diagram of the State Department’s new learning model. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE