National Nuclear Security Administration

Rising stars of NNSA travel to the west coast for training

April 23, 2019

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The 2018-2019 MLDP class at Livermore Field Office.
The 2018-2019 MLDP class at Livermore Field Office.

The vital national security missions of NNSA demand excellence, so it’s no wonder the dedicated men and women of the Nuclear Security Enterprise are constantly seeking out opportunities for improvement.

Each year, a group of especially driven employees rise to the challenge and join the Mid-Level Leadership Development Program (MLDP) in an effort to reach their full potential. This year-long training program develops and prepares interested individuals for future leadership roles in the agency.

Part of this training involves visits to the labs, plants, and sites of NNSA. Participants are able to tour facilities, meet with leadership, and forge a broader understanding of how the Nuclear Security Enterprise works. At the end of March, the current MLDP class completed a four-day site visit to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Field Office to accomplish all this and more. The visit included a tour of the historic non-nuclear explosives test facility Site 300 and the enormous, record-breaking National Ignition Facility (NIF).

It’s important to take time to listen and get a feel for someone’s background, mood, and other factors that will help us to get along better and complete the mission in a timely manner.

Pablo Garibay
NNSA Mid-Level Leadership Development Program participant

“Livermore Lab has many exciting experiments and a unique mission, but the NIF tour was the highlight of the trip for me,” said MLDP participant Phillip Abbot. “We were told that NIF can create pressures and temperatures that are only found in the center of stars and nuclear weapons. These experiments help with understanding how the weapons work and provide data to validate computer models.”  

Participants developed the core competency of confliction resolution skills during the training sessions – a crucial strength for any prospective leader and a key component of the MLDP curriculum. Conflict resolution skills can boost morale, increase effectiveness, and improve results within an organization. Through instructor-led discussions, small group activities, and role playing, the group practiced resolving difficult or uncomfortable workplace situations by turning disagreements into productive discourse.

“The training was very inclusive and insightful,” said MLDP participant Pablo Garibay. “It showed how escalation can happen and methods to de-escalate. I learned that there are times to be sensitive and times to allow for growth by having healthy conflict. It’s important to take time to listen and get a feel for someone’s background, mood, and other factors that will help us to get along better and complete the mission in a timely manner.”

MLDP supports NNSA’s goal of creating meaningful and progressively responsible career roadmaps as NNSA strives to be a learning organization that promotes learning, development, and training to its employees for both the individual and organization’s benefit. Upon completion, participants receive a Leadership Education and Development Certificate from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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