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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, Center of Operational Excellence Complete Workforce Training Initiative

Media Contacts:

Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970

Stacey Dvorak, Administrative Services, 402-471-4112


12,000 state team members have completed basic process improvement training.


LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Department of Administrative Services’ Center of Operational Excellence (COE) announced that all agency code team members are now white belt certified.


“Understanding process improvement is fundamental to making state government more effective, more efficient, and more customer-focused,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Congratulations to Matthew Singh and the Center for Operational Excellence for their work in guiding our entire team through this training.  This training will help our team at the State of Nebraska focus on streamlining and structuring state services to help grow Nebraska.”


In September, Governor Pete Ricketts directed code agencies to have all team members complete the white belt training by the beginning of 2017.  Code agencies employ a little over 12,000 team members.  White belt training is an essential first step in introducing basic fundamentals of process improvement to create a culture of operational excellence in state government. 


“With all team members white belt certified, we now have the foundation for a culture in place that is not only continually looking to improve the products and services they deliver but also collaborating together to create a more efficient and effective state government,” said DAS Director Byron Diamond.   “It will change the way state government operates.  Our team members are now empowered to innovate the way we do business which will benefit taxpayers.”


To provide training for state team members, the COE developed an in-house training program instead of contracting with outside resources.  This has allowed the State to train and white belt certify over 12,000 team members in 6 months instead of the 3 years which was originally promised by outside contractors.


“The COE’s in-house training program is another example of building a more efficient and effective state government,” said COE Director Matthew Singh.  “Since, June our team members invested over 14,000 training hours for certification in white, yellow, and green belts to help develop a culture of process improvement.  Our program has reduced both the cost and the overall time to train state team members.”


The COE utilizes the Lean Six Sigma methodologies to build a culture that values process improvement and continually look for ways to build a stronger, more efficient state government.  In addition to certification in white belt training, the COE also provides certification in both yellow and green belt training.


  • Yellow belt certification provides a more in depth look at the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and delivers tools to use for daily management. Currently, over 170 team members are certified yellow belts.
  • Green belt certification is key for the advancement of Lean Six Sigma process improvement events.  It provides the training for process improvement coordinators to further learn the Lean Six Sigma methodologies and how to lead process improvement events.  The first certification course was completed on October 14th.  Currently, 7 team members are on track to receive their green belt certification in February.  In addition, 11 more team members will begin their green belt training in February. 


The State has already realized several successes since June including significant reductions in the time it takes to deliver certain services, increases in customer satisfaction, and improvements in agency work culture.  Successes include:


  • Decreased call wait times at ACCESSNebraska, the state’s call centers for public benefits.
  • Faster processing time and a customer-friendly processes for almost 176,000 health care professionals.
  • Faster delivery for air construction environmental quality permits.
  • Increased auctions for the state’s Surplus Property Division, decreasing wait time for agencies to access unused items.


Currently, the State is conducting over a dozen process improvement activities in different agencies.  These activities will assist the agencies in operating more efficiently, reducing processing steps which will save time, and improving the customer service experience for taxpayers. 


Several other states are also using similar process improvement techniques to enhance their services including Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.