Intel Employees Go Back To 'School'
Aug. 12, 1992
SEATTLE (AP) _ School is never out for Intel Corp. employees, from senior managers to factory workers.
Employees attend Intel University, a company-run school that offers courses from circuit design to company culture.
Intel's 25,000 employees worldwide can attend on company time hundreds of classes offered at five sites: Santa Clara, Calif.; Folsom, Calif.; Chandler, Ariz.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Hillsboro, Ore.
On any given day, between 400 and 450 employees are enrolled in courses at Intel, which manufactures microprocessor chips that are the ''brains'' of IBM computers and clones.
''The bottom line is to improve performance,'' said Intel University manager Richard Ward. ''It's not knowledge for knowledge sake. It's knowledge to improve ourselves to improve the business.
''In the '90s, the only true competitive advantage is the capability of a company's work force.''
American interest in worker training has grown over the years, although U.S. training figures pale in comparison with those of competitors like Germany and Japan.
''They haven't put their money where their mouths are,'' said Vandra Huber, associate professor of human resources at the University of Washington.
U.S. employers spend an estimated $30 billion to $44 billion on worker training each year, the federal Office of Technological Assessment said in a 1990 report. However, the bulk of that, more than $27 billion, is spent by only 0.5 percent of all U.S. companies.
Intel, which started its university in 1983, plans to spend $50 million on worker training this year alone.
All new employees are expected to take an Intel culture class. Although additional courses aren't mandatory, about 90 percent have taken them at one time or another.
Judy Andrews, who joined Intel three months ago, has taken two courses so far - effective meetings and voice mail training.
''I think it's a great idea,'' said Andrews, marketing administrator for corporate sales and marketing training and education in Folsom.
''It makes employees feel part of the company instead of a worker bee,'' she said.
Courses vary in length, some running only half a day and others several days. The quarterly catalog, now at 124 pages, lists 1,500 courses ranging from time management to components training.
One course offers tips for promoting directness in business and personal relations. Another helps employees run effective meetings.
Most of the instructors are experienced Intel employees.
''If you don't do well, we don't flunk you,'' Ward said. ''We don't send you to the principal or the dean.''
Jeanne Meister, a consultant with Quality Dynamics, a New York-based human resource development firm, said she's impressed by Intel's school.
''It's a good example of a company that sees people as their fundamental strength,'' said Meister, whose book, ''Corporate Quality Universities: Lessons Learned In Building A World-Class Work Force,'' will be published early next year.
''As a result of training, people feel more motivated and fired up about the company,'' she said. ''Then they can come in with the tools and techniques needed to deliver improvement in quality.''
Ward says the company hopes place Intel University under one roof. The company already has created six ''colleges'' headed by ''deans'' who put together curriculum, he said.
By 1993, Intel University will be on a computer data base, allowing employees to view course offerings, review courses taken and register or drop a course from their desks, he said.
End Adv PMs Wednesday, Aug. 12