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Baldrige Quality Awards for Education, Healthcare Set for 1999

Education and healthcare organizations will be eligible to take full advantage of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1999 as a result of legislation signed into law today by President Clinton and the recent passage of the 1999 federal appropriations bill, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology announced.

"I am delighted that education and healthcare organizations will now be able to be full partners in the Baldrige National Quality Program. These organizations can now apply for the Baldrige Award and share best practices with schools and healthcare providers around the country," Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said.

The 1999 appropriation for the Baldrige National Quality Program is $4.9 million, which includes $1.8 million for the new award categories for education and healthcare. The expansions are authorized formally by the "Technology Administration Act of 1998," signed by the President today. Non-profit and for-profit education organizations and healthcare providers will be eligible to apply for the new awards. Manufacturers of healthcare equipment still will apply in the award’s manufacturing category. Other categories for the Baldrige Award are service and small business.

In May 1997, the private Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award announced a $15 million fund drive to raise an endowment to help establish an award program for organizations in the education and healthcare sectors. "Thousands of businesses have dramatically improved their competitiveness and effectiveness by participating in the Baldrige Award program. Knowing that the country’s educational and healthcare organizations will now have the potential to reap similar benefits from the Baldrige program is good news for all Americans," said Roger Ackerman, chairman and CEO of Corning Incorporated and president of the foundation.

The foundation-raised endowment will help fund activities such as printing and distributing criteria and training private-sector examiners who review applications. In 1988, the foundation raised $10.4 million to endow the Baldrige Award for business.

The new Baldrige Award programs will help education and healthcare organizations improve performance, share best practices, and foster partnerships involving schools, businesses, healthcare organizations, human services agencies and others, said Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program at NIST.

"Increasingly, the costs of healthcare and the need for improved education are affecting our country’s economic development and competitiveness," said Hertz. "The performance excellence concepts embodied in the Baldrige Award criteria are a way to help meet these challenges," he said. The education and healthcare sectors have expressed strong interest in establishing Baldrige quality award programs for their communities. In 1995, NIST conducted a successful pilot award program. Forty-six healthcare and 19 education organizations submitted applications for the pilot. Until now, federal funding has not been available to establish award categories.

Education organizations and healthcare providers planning on applying for the 1999 Baldrige Award can use the 1998 performance excellence criteria. The criteria are available from the Baldrige National Quality Program, telephone: (301) 975-2036, or through the program’s web site:

More than 40 state quality award programs are based on the Baldrige Award program, and 35 of these recognize education and healthcare organizations. Recently, the state of New Jersey passed a bill enabling school systems to use the New Jersey Quality Achievement Award criteria (based on the Baldrige criteria) as a substitute for the existing state assessment criteria.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance U.S. competitiveness by promoting quality awareness, recognizing quality achievements of U.S. companies and publicizing successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 32 Awards have been presented.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released October 30, 1998, Updated November 27, 2017