What is the Award?

The Award Program, modeled after the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, offers a thorough and objective educational process through which an organization can learn and apply quality implementation techniques and assessment methods.

Organizations participating in the award process join a growing number of Missouri and Kansas organizations that are dedicated to promoting quality as a vital element to enhancing customer satisfaction and operational performance. Through their willingness to help others, the award recipients have encouraged other organizations to undertake their own quality improvement efforts.

Three tiered program

  • Compass
  • Expedition
  • State Quality Award Application

Quality Award Process

The objectives of the Award Program are to promote an understanding of the requirements for performance excellence and continuous improvement, and to stimulate sharing of improvement information on successful performance strategies and the benefits derived from using these strategies.

Award Participation

Any organization located in Missouri or Kansas may participate in the MQA or KQA process. Separate award categories are established for manufacturing, service, nonprofit, public sector, education and heath care. Within each eligibility category, awards may be presented in the following size classes:

  • Small – Less than 100 employees
  • Medium – 100-499 employees
  • Large – 500 employees or more


Based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework, the criteria set a common standard of excellence for all organizations and are the basis for granting the award and providing feedback to applicants. The criteria focus on results, are non-prescriptive and adaptable, support a systems approach to organizational goal alignment and permit goal-based diagnosis. The criteria are updated every two years in order to reflect the leading edge of validated management practice. The award and tiered programs operate on the current year criteria.

Click here to purchase the 2017-2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework. Available versions include: Healthcare, Education, and Business/Nonprofit.
(Downloadable PDFs: $12 each; Printed booklet: $30 each plus shipping)

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit an application package that consists of three parts

  • An eligibility determination form showing that eligibility has been approved
  • A completed application form
  • An application report consisting of a business overview and responses to the award criteria

Start Here

Application Review

Applications are reviewed and evaluated by members of the Board of Examiners in accordance with strict rules regarding conflict of interest, in a four stage process:

  • Independent review and evaluation by members of the Board of Examiners
  • Consensus review and evaluation for all applications
  • Site visits to high-scoring applications
  • Judges’ review and recommendations

Feedback to Applicants

All applicants receive feedback reports at the conclusion of the review process. The feedback is based upon the applicant’s responses to the award criteria.


The award program is administered under a strict code of ethics, which ensures that no applicant names are ever released unless they receive the award. In addition, any commentary and scoring information developed during the review are kept strictly confidential. Such information is available only to those individuals directly involved in the examination and only on those applications to which they are assigned.

  • Award fees have been established at modest levels to help defray expenses while still encouraging all eligible organizations to apply. Fees include a non-refundable payment that must accompany the Eligibility Determination Form, as well as a written application fee which is dependent upon the size of the organization. These fees are set to cover all expenses associated with distribution of applications, review of applications, and development of feedback reports.

Applicants reaching the site visit stage will be assessed an additional fee to cover expenses and travel costs associated with site visit participation and development of site visit reports. The site visit fees are set at the time visits are scheduled.

Site Visit

If selected for a site visit, a team from the Board of Examiners visits the Applicant to verify and clarify information in the written application. Please see our award Program FAQs for general site visit information. A site visit Manual will be provided to each Applicant by the award Office upon selection for a site visit. Please contact us any questions.