Marion County Cohort Addressing Under-represented Black Women in Six Sigma

Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) Center for Business and Economic Development has partnered with the Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute (SSREI) to help Black women in Indianapolis and Marion County earn their Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

“What we’re doing with the Six Sigma for Racial Equity Institute is taking the power of data analysis and problem-solving tools that have been used in industry for decades and starting to apply those to some social problems in the Black community,” says Jon Padfield, IUPUC Assistant Professor of Management and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. “I have not seen another Six Sigma program that is really focused on societal issues and particularly focused on projects for the Black community,” he said.

There are 12 members in the 2021 cohort and 15 for 2022. SSREI has 10 Black Belt certified coaches. Participants in the program are expected to use their new skillset to respond to inequities that impact the Black community and workforce in their local community.

Sample projects include:

  • Identifying and eliminating challenges that cause Black students in Indiana to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at a lower rate than white students
  • Reducing maternal mortality for Black women in Marion County

Sponsorships have been set up to significantly reduce the cost of tuition, where participants only pay a small percentage of the training cost.

“Black women are under-represented in the Six Sigma community because they are commonly under-exposed to this training and its benefits,” says Padfield. 

Read the entire article, or learn more about the program at