A blue background with the National Association of Counties logo.

Finance, Parks, Human Services, Public Works, and Public Health Receive Awards

June 25, 2024 – El Paso County has been recognized with eight National Association of Counties (NACo) awards, including a “Best of Category” award, the only one earned in Colorado. The NACo Achievement Awards have been recognizing outstanding county government programs and services since 1970.

The Finance Department won the “Best in Category” award in Financial Management for the Digital Data and Financial Transparency Dashboard, created to track the American Rescue Plan Act funding allocation. This tool allows citizens and officials to monitor fund usage and receive quarterly reports, increasing transparency and fostering trust in government spending.

Other awards include EPC Public Health for co-designing an initiative to support long-term community viability in southeast Colorado Springs. This initiative originated as a community-focused public health project that led to a successful, independent entity focusing on the health and well-being of residents.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) received an award for its Bridge Program, which helps those receiving temporary benefits by offering six months of subsidized employment with the county or an external employer. The goal is to gain essential job skills while earning work experience, leading to stable, full-time employment.

The Parks Department was awarded twice, once for its Visually Impaired Person (VIP) Trail, which offers an outdoor experience tailored for individuals with blindness or limited vision. The trail features a rope-guided boardwalk with knots at stopping points and assistive devices that read aloud informative signs, helping the visually impaired access and enjoy nature.

The Kite Festival received the second award for Parks. This vibrant celebration of the wind brings together communities to foster enjoyment and learning. This free event in the eastern part of the county provided a community-centered opportunity for participation and cultivated a deeper connection to the area’s natural elements.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) was recognized with three awards. One award was for its Road Safety Plan, a data-driven initiative focused on reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries. It employs a multi-pronged approach, focusing on engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation, and enforcement, emphasizing improving driver behavior and enhancing safety.

The second award was for its Workforce Development Program, which establishes clear career progression and individual development plans for DPW employees, increasing retention and employee satisfaction.

The final award was for the DPW Connects Program, which partners with local schools to encourage young graduates to enter skilled labor careers. By providing opportunities for students to explore careers, receive training, and obtain certifications, the program aims to address workforce shortages and help young people find gainful careers.

Each year, NACo’s Achievement Awards recognize outstanding programming in 18 categories aligned with the vast and comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, financial management, criminal justice and public safety, transportation, health, civic engagement, and more. The program is designed to celebrate innovation in county government. Each nominated program is judged on its merits and not against other applications.

“I am proud that El Paso County was recognized with eight awards from the National Association of Counties,” said El Paso County Administrator Bret Waters. “This remarkable achievement highlights our team’s exceptional dedication, innovative spirit, and unwavering commitment to serving our community. Each award signifies the outstanding efforts of our staff to enhance the quality of life for our residents. We will continue to build on these achievements and strive for excellence in all we do for El Paso County.”

“The Achievement Awards recognize excellence in county government and effective public service,” said NACo President Mary Jo McGuire. “This year’s winners have delivered results for our residents and demonstrated innovative efforts to strengthen our communities.”

For more information about El Paso County’s Achievement Awards from NACo, click here.