Agencies to be eligible for Baldrige honors

Agencies to be eligible for Baldrige honors

Under legislation signed Oct. 5, government agencies and nonprofit organizations will soon be eligible to compete for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards.

The awards, named for the late Commerce secretary Malcolm Baldrige, began in 1988 to reward excellence in manufacturing and business organizations. Four years ago, health care and educational groups were added to the Baldrige categories. There is no monetary prize attached, but each year's recipients are honored at a presidential ceremony.

"We hope to begin awards in the government and nonprofit categories in about a year," NIST spokeswoman Jan Kosko said. "It's not an easy award to earn. You must document all your processes that fulfill the quality criteria and undergo very stringent reviews."

Sometimes the reviewers make site visits and interview employees to verify the quality claims, she said. "There are several hundred questions to answer, and applicants are limited to 50 pages."

Kosko said the quality metrics for government will be similar to those for business, but tailored to government activities. For more information about the awards, visit baldrige.nist.gov.

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