With the advent of the Baldrige Award, many states developed their own awards based on the Baldrige Criteria. These early adopters typically modified the Criteria for their needs, although it wasn’t long before they started using the same Criteria without any changes.
There was no single approach to forming a state program. Some had government support; others didn’t. Most were nonprofit groups. A few were private efforts. Some were run out of state universities; others by leaders who had separate full-time jobs.
The nature of their awards varied, too. The state programs tended to be broader than the national program with more award categories (a gold/silver/bronze kind of deal) and more services (i.e., consulting, face-to-face feedback reporting, and a site visit for anyone who wanted one).
As of 2009, 37 states have active programs. You can see a complete list of state and local programs, along with contact information and Web site links, at the Alliance for Performance Excellence, a nonprofit network of international, national, state, and local Baldrige-based award programs.
I encourage any organization that operates in one of these 37 states and that wants external feedback on its Baldrige assessment to start with its state program. You will get personal service, valuable feedback, and ongoing support for your improvement efforts.
It’s a path several Baldrige Award recipients have followed including recent winners Iredell Statesville Schools (North Carolina), Poudre Valley Health System (Colorado), City of Coral Springs (Florida), and PRO-TEC Coating Company (Ohio).