'Green Belt Advisor' Workshop Aims to Help Local Leaders Improve

A four-day January workshop immersed 12 local leaders in a rigorous professional development program aimed at providing the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve improvement results in their work across Greater Lorain County.
The Green Belt Advisor – GBA – works with social service agencies and members from United Way’s Community Collaboratives to improve their collaborative work, future projects and organizational-wide strategic initiatives. 
GBA is based on similar programs used in the corporate sector known as black belt or improvement advisor programs, which are based on improvement science and intend to enhance the quality of service and products that are delivered to customers. The program also focuses on improvement science while seeking to bring about systems change in complex social environments.
“If our community collaboratives are going to fulfill the high expectations they have for themselves to transform our community, then like our colleagues in the corporate sector, we need to invest in the professional development of our partners,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper. “Systems change requires special knowledge and a unique set of skills that are imperative for our work to be successful, and these are skills that GBA provides.”
The GBA curriculum is built around the theoretical framework of W.E. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge and the Model for Improvement as a roadmap for completing improvement initiatives and a philosophy of “all teach, all learn” permeates the curriculum.
Each member of the GBA class was asked to identify one or more specific improvement projects for which they were responsible for providing the improvement expertise and skills. These projects were the focus of the four-day workshop and support activities throughout the course of the program, and are the subject of each member’s final project highlighted during a graduation poster session. 
Organizations represented in this year's program include: Horizon Education Centers, LCADA Way, Lorain County General Health District, Neighborhood Alliance, Nord Center, Oberlin Community Services, United Way of Greater Lorain County and United Way of Summit County.