The Forward Award

Wisconsin Forward Award is Wisconsin’s premier recognition for workplace excellence.  Created in 1997 by then Governor Tommy Thompson and the Council for Workforce Investment, the program is designed to advance the competitive position of world-class status of Wisconsin organizations in the international marketplace; and to enhance learning, continuous improvement and enterprise performance. It is administered by the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Madison, WI.  In recent years, the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Commerce provided annual funding to support WCPE.

• The prestigious Wisconsin Forward Award recognizes state organizations that have sharpened their competitive edge and are making an impact on the local or global economy.

• WFA sets forth a rigorous evaluation process that requires Wisconsin organizations to demonstrate superior management principles and practices against nationally recognized benchmarks.  Comprehensive feedback reports from specially trained examiners help participating organizations position themselves for changes in a dynamic and competitive marketplace.

• By understanding and applying the WFA/Baldrige criteria, Wisconsin organizations can increase their ability to complete in the global marketplace, meet the growing demands of customers, and remain competitive. Organizations like these will produce good jobs, a skilled workforce, and a strong economic future for Wisconsin.

• In addition to the recognition process, WCPE offers a variety of assessment tools and sponsors educational sessions to share “best practices” with businesses and organizations around the state and to tout the program as a way of strengthening Wisconsin’s economic outlook.

• There is unrelenting pressure on Wisconsin organizations to perform. To be successful in today’s marketplace, business leaders must promote clear values, communicate performance expectations, empower employees, understand and respond to the needs of customers, and create an environment of learning and innovation. Whether large or small, organizations making a real commitment to process improvement and learning see real results.

• WFA honors organizations that focus on what truly makes a difference—effective planning, a “future” orientation, and a willingness to make long-term commitments to customers, employees and their communities.

• Accountability for performance has become an expectation. Consumers can look to WFA as a third party endorsement—a sort of “quality seal of approval.” WFA honorees demonstrate a commitment to their customers,
their employees, and an economically strong America.

• Organizations representing business, education, health care, manufacturing, non-profit and the public sector are eligible to participate in the WFA program, and do so to demonstrate accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Please explore the menu options under the Forward Award menu to find information in you’re interested in applying, interested in serving on the Board of Examiners, as well as the pathway options available to apply for the Wisconsin Forward Award.

Applicant Resources

Examiner Resources