The 2019 W. Edwards Deming Training Award Winners

Graduate School USA | 2019 W. Edwards Deming Training Award Winners

The 2019 W. Edwards Deming Training Award Winners

Graduate School USA presents the W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award to government organizations that exemplify excellence with an initiative or program that focuses on enhancing quality processes within that organization.

This year, the Deming Award was presented in three categories:
• Human Capital Management: Talent management, employee engagement and succession management
• Technology: Learning system management, mobile accessibility, and career portals
• Innovation: Original applications that challenge conventional notions of how things have previously been done

2019 W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award Finalists:

  • Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division, Manpower, Personnel and Training (U.S. Air Force)
  • District of Columbia, Department of Human Resources
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Acquisition Academy Supply Chain Management School
  • Social Security Administration, Los Angeles Metro Office
  • Department of Homeland Security, OCFO Human Capital Strategy Team
  • U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General
  • Trends Analysis Division in the Office of Defects Investigation, National Highway Safety Administration
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division
  • Department of State, Bureau of Administration, Office of Operations, Team Kevlar
  • Social Security Administration, Office of Buildings Management
  • Wage Leadership Development Program Task Force, Office of Facilities Management and Reliability, Smithsonian Institution
  • U.S. Army Public Health Center, Product Assurance & Clearance Innovation Team
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Clerk’s Office
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Enterprise-Wide Mentoring Program, Enterprise Training Division, Office of Human Resources
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Administrative Professionals Excellence Program, Enterprise Training Division, Office of Human Resources



The Department of Veterans Affairs, Acquisition Academy Supply Chain Management School is the winner of #GSUSA’s 2019 W. Edwards Deming Award in the technology category for their Supply Chain Enhancement & Modernization.

(Winner – Technology Category)

Supply Chain Enhancement and Modernization
Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA) Supply Chain Management School’s (SCMS) training supports VA's breakthrough priority to modernize the supply chain, which includes having a well-trained logistics and supply chain workforce to ensure that facilities have what they need, when they need it, to care for veterans. To accomplish this, SCMS training encompasses an expansive distance learning strategy. With a training methodology that has expanded from a traditional classroom environment to distance-based learning, SCMS delivered over 281 virtual course offerings in FY19, resulting in significant resource savings.

During FY 2019, SCMS satisfied training and development requirements for more than 10,000 VA logisticians. The SCMS curriculum has garnered interest and appeal from other government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Social Security Administration, Department of Interior, Health and Human Services, and the General Services Administration. Additionally, SCMS maintains a strategic academic partnership with Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business to provide opportunity for certified Supply Chain education and the Naval Post Graduate partnership that complements the VAAA mission and vision. SCMS achieved an end-of-course survey completion rate of 96 percent. Collectively, students stated that SCMS training was beneficial in improving performance at their home station, which supports VA's breakthrough priority to modernize VA's supply chain and ensure a well-trained supply chain and logistics workforce.

The Veteran Affairs Acquisition Academy’s Supply Chain Management School’s continued efforts and enthusiastic support of distance learning in the federal government exemplify the spirit of W. Edwards Deming.


The Department of State, Bureau of Administration, Office of Operations, Team Kevlar was awarded #GSUSA’s 2019 W. Edwards Deming Award in the Innovation category for their U.S. Diplomacy Center

(Winner: Innovation Category)

U.S. Diplomacy Center
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Administration, Office of Operations formulates and carries out policy and determines and develops program priorities on a broad range of administrative support and managerial activities for the agency. Since former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s initiative of creating a museum of diplomacy, this office has partnered with offices internally and externally to make this vision a reality.

The U.S. Diplomacy Center (USDC), a public-private partnership, would be a first-of-its-kind museum, dedicated to the story of diplomacy. Through vivid multi-media exhibits, hands-on activities, unique artifacts, and thought-provoking educational programs, the USDC will engage visitors through stories of American diplomacy and explain why diplomacy matters.

The agency, facing multiple challenges, decided to leverage Graduate School USA’s Executive Potential Program, which offers learning and developmental experiences for high-potential employees moving into leadership positions. The office sought to sponsor and engage a team for one year to focus on issues of governance, operations, and strategy for the agency to gain a broader perspective leading to the formation of Team Kevlar, an interagency team of eight professionals. A Team Kevlar goal was to provide recommendations based on research that would advance the development of the museum project. The team approached the project by administering an issues framing survey to agency stakeholders that have been engaged with the project to identify underlying issues that may have impacted the project. The team conducted research with a three-part approach, concentrating on key findings from the survey.

First, the team conducted an analysis internal to the agency; reviewing and analyzing past studies, project documentation, and various internal processes. Secondly, the team researched benchmarking opportunities and lessons learned from various organizations external to the U.S. Department of State. Lastly, the team analyzed the project from an academic standpoint and evaluated the project as it related to the museum industry specifically. This culminated with the formulation of the team’s recommendations pertaining to Governance, Organization, Strategic Planning, and External Engagement documented in a 364-page book that has been presented to and well received by stakeholders at the U.S. Department of State.


The U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General’s Cultural Transformation Initiative is the winner of the #GSUSA’s 2019 W. Edwards Deming Award in the Human Capital Management Category.

(Winner: Human Capital Management Category)

SBA OIG’s Culture Transformation
The executive leadership team of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Small Business Administration committed itself to driving organizational change through its Strategic Plan. OIG’s Strategic Plan is premised on the belief that its workforce is its most valuable asset. The plan itself was the culmination of significant workforce engagement and seeks to promote a viable career path for employees. OIG promoted a positive work–life balance as a strategic objective and prioritized professionalism and development of their future leaders.

Since October 2017, OIG’s executive staff has taken deliberate and intentional actions in the area of Human Capital Management to transform the culture of the organization and to develop the skills and professionalism of the workforce. These actions are in direct correlation to the Fiscal Year 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.

While attainment of the strategic objectives are best judged as measurable outputs, the outcome and impact of the actions are best assessed by measures of employee engagement, notably the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). OIG’s outcomes are noteworthy. In 2018, OIG had a response rate of 81.7 percent for the FEVS, which is twice the overall government response rate and an improvement from its 76 percent participation rate in 2017. This shows that OIG’s staff is engaged and committed to the success of the mission. The scores also indicate the office has an 84 percent engagement level—a 20 percent increase from 2016. This is a testament to the intrinsic work experience at OIG, the relationships between subordinates and supervisors, and the leadership within the office.

OIG’s leadership believes fully in a “One OIG” concept. They recognize that SBA OIG’s vision to be the most effective OIG in the federal government cannot be achieved alone by the senior leaders, and took care in their nomination to highlight many of the initiatives described as being the result of collaborative effort and sacrifices of time and attention at all levels in the organization. OIG’s leaders are proud to accept The W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award on behalf of OIG.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Clerk’s Office is the 2nd winner of #GSUSA’s W. Edwards Deming Award in the Human Capital Management category for their Gradual Cumulative Training Model.

(Winner: Human Capital Management Category)

Gradual Cumulative Training Model
The Clerk’s Office of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit provides a dual-supporting role to the court by facilitating the progression of cases before the court and by accurately preserving the court’s record. In FY 2017, the Clerk’s Office concluded that its case managers lacked the tools they needed to fulfill the office’s mission in optimal fashion. The then-existing practice of training new staff—on-the-job shadowing led by peers who were already managing full case dockets—created an excessive delay in new case managers being able to contribute fully and support independently the work of the office and the court.

Following a year of development, testing, and refinement, the Clerk’s Office created a new training program using a gradual cumulative training model that starts with big picture concepts and explanations of why office processes exist and ends with an evaluation of the work performed in actual cases. Throughout the training, new case managers are provided objective standards and clear understanding of how they will be evaluated to determine their mastery at each stage of training. The benefits of this training program include (1) Flexibility to accommodate different learning speeds through a modular-based system and (2) Accessibility for all four learning styles—visual, auditory, reading, and kinesthetic—by combining elements of self-study, hands-on and experiential learning, and classroom-style instruction. Moreover, in designing a program around general case management concepts and standardized methods, this proven training program can be scaled up or down by any court in the federal judiciary seeking to realize efficiencies in its training model.

Eighteen months after launching this new training program, the Clerk’s Office realized quantifiable improvements in the accuracy of court records, in the performance capability of its workforce, and in the quality of service to the court’s judges and litigants. Specifically, the Clerk’s Office saw a 75 percent reduction in the training time required to bring case managers to full performance of their duties; a 14.4 percent improvement in case manager accuracy; and a 10 percent increase in employee satisfaction with training.

Congratulations to all of our 2019 winners, whose commitment and dedication to quality and teamwork has led to organizational success.

Learn more about the Deming Award.



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