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The North Carolina Award for Excellence Program (NCAfE) promotes and celebrates a culture of excellence within organizations across the state. Established to honor exceptional achievements in performance and leadership, this program has become a symbol of dedication to continuous improvement and innovation.
The North Carolina Award for Excellence Program is based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a national initiative focused on enhancing the competitiveness and performance of U.S. organizations. North Carolina, recognizing the transformative potential of such a program, adapted and localized these principles to create a state-level framework that aligns with the unique needs and challenges of businesses and organizations operating within its borders.
The program recognizes excellence across various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, education, non-profit organizations and small businesses. The Criteria for Performance Excellence offers a path to achieve the following goals:

  • Innovation
  • World-class results
  • Integrated processes that enhance effectiveness and efficiency
  • Organizational learning
  • Sustainable success

Organizations participating in the program undergo a comprehensive evaluation process. This process thoroughly examines an organization’s leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement and analysis, workforce engagement, operations and results. The rigorous assessment ensures that only those organizations demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement and sustainable excellence receive this prestigious recognition.
Receiving the North Carolina Award for Excellence is not just an accolade; it’s a testament to an organization’s unwavering dedication to excellence. Organizations benefit from a valuable feedback report that provides insights into strengths, areas for improvement and best practices. This feedback becomes a roadmap for ongoing excellence, guiding organizations on a continuous improvement journey beyond the award ceremony.

The 2024 timeline:

  • Board of Examiners Applications Due April 1, 2024
  • Awards Program Intent to Apply Due May 31, 2024
  • Examiner Orientation
    • Online May 9. 2024
    • In Person (Knoxville, TN) May 15, 2024
      Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, 2525 Perimeter Place Drive, Suite 122 Nashville, TN 37214-3773
  • NC Examiner Training
    • In Person (Mills River, NC) July 9-11, 2024
      NC State University Mountain Horticultural Crops  Research & Extension Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
  • Award Program Applications Due July 31, 2024

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