The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 49 This was the first step in the State Department’s broader efforts to foster a culture of career-long learning and to help ensure employees are afforded greater opportunities to participate in professional development and training. The Core Curriculum is a recommended set of courses for mid-career professionals designed to develop a common foreign affairs skill set. It focuses on a broad spectrum of critical skills, ranging from leadership to strategic planning, negotiation, and working in the interagency. The Core Curriculum contains a mix of existing and new courses as well as a few that are still in development (see sidebar). Feedback from the post-course evaluations to date has been overwhelmingly positive. Zachary Segal, a Civil Service employee in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, was one of the first students to take a new Core Curriculum class, “Succeeding at State: Core Skills for Mid-Career Professionals.” In a follow-up conversation a few months after completing the course, Segal said the course taught him useful skills such as strategic empathy, ways to leverage your network, and understanding the pressures your colleagues and supervisors experience. He said the course was general enough to apply to everyone in the department and that it brought together a unique group of employees who shared their diverse experiences. The course spurred real change for Segal. He shared that he had never considered taking on a managerial role, as he had always seen himself as a subject matter expert. Following the course, he realized that he was ready to take the leap and work toward a management position, a positive move forward in his career that he had not anticipated. As Deputy Secretary Verma said in his message rolling out the policy, “This policy is an essential investment in you, your professional development, and in our organization’s agility and effectiveness in a rapidly changing world.” But as one of the Core Curriculum course designers noted, “A five-day course won’t fill the gap of the continuous learning need.” Individuals still need to supplement their growth with additional learning. And 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. This is why the Learning Policy has The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ dedication to continuous learning is a model for workforce development.