Mentoring Program

The US Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, is offering employees department-wide, the opportunity to participate in a formal mentoring partnership.  For centuries, mentors have offered valuable advice and wisdom at critical points in a person's career development.  By volunteering as a mentor, you will be able to use your career and life experiences to help an aspiring leader in their professional development.

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Deborah Jefferson, Former Director for Human Resources Management, comments on advice she would give a potential mentor: "Mentoring from those who have achieved success--provides an excellent and effective way to promote the development of aspiring career employees."

Who Can Be A Mentor?

The ideal mentor is someone who has the time and a strong desire to help others grow personally and professionally.  A successful mentor must be:
  • knowledgeable about the DOC vision, mission, and organizational relationships
  • willing to commit time and energy to the mentoring process (we suggest a minimum of two-four hours per month)
  • highly regarded technically, interpersonally, and politically
  • willing to share organizational knowledge, provide objective feedback, and help set developmental goals
  • willing to act as a sounding board and confidante
  • open to feedback and suggestions for improving his/her effectiveness as a mentor
  • willing to participate in formal mentoring training to learn the tools of program and their role and responsibilities as a mentor.

Who Can Be A Mentee?

The ideal mentee is a career or career conditional employee (GS-2-13 level) who possesses a satisfactory performance appraisal.  Mentees must have a strong desire to learn from someone "who has been there before."  A successful mentee must be:
  • knowledgeable about the DOC vision, mission, and organizational relationships
  • willing to invest time and effort to the mentoring partnership (we suggest two-four hours per month engaged in mentoring activities)
  • possess a strong desire to expand organizational knowledge and skill base
  • willing to assume responsibility for clarifying and developing a mentoring action plan and agreement
  • willing to participate in formal mentoring training to learn the tools of the program and their role and responsibilities as a mentee.
Note:  Selection criteria for mentee candidates for the ALDP, ELDP and SESCDP can be found at:

How Will I Be Matched?

Both prospective mentors and mentees will complete an application that contains a personal statement expressing why he/she is interested in participating in the program.  Information collected from the application will assist in identifying and selecting a mentoring match.  The next step is mentee driven as they decide who their ideal mentor will be.  Are they looking for someone with their same functional background, or are they interested in a mentor who can help bridge the gap into a new career field?  The mentee will also decide if they want a mentor to be close geographically so a face-to-face meeting can take place.  If location of the mentor is not a concern, the mentee can also search potential mentors based on career fields and/or skills and competencies.

Once the mentee has identified the search criteria, a list of potential mentors will be provided.  The mentee will review the list of potential mentors, along with their applications, and then decide with who they would like to initiate a mentoring partnership.  When a mentee expresses an interest in being mentored, the mentor can either accept or decline their request.  It is recommended that mentors review the mentees' application prior to accepting the request for match to make sure you are a good fit as well as to ensure you are not committing to more than one long-term mentoring match at a time.

Once the mentee and mentor have decided to become partners, they will be encouraged to attend formal training and complete the Mentoring Agreement to help clarify expectations and define boundaries in their partnership.  The DOC Mentoring Program also has a Mentoring Action Plan for the partnership to work on based on the agreed upon expectations.

Mentoring Time Commitments

The time commitment for mentoring could be either short term and situational (discuss an idea over coffee) or long term (share your career guidance and support over the length of the career or leadership development program).  Each mentoring pair will agree, at the beginning of the mentoring partnership, on the length and frequency of the mentoring commitment.