A&M International Gives Employees Computer Training, Wellness Sessions

Texas A&M International University is taking an active role in ensuring the enhancement of its employees' job performance by joining a growing wave of nationwide employers who prepare their staff with work-related training sessions and personal wellness seminars.

Among programs that A&M International offers are computer training sessions, which give employees the chance to grasp skills such as Internet searching, e-mail usage, web page creation and WordPerfect application.

The University has spent nearly $2 million in computer technology acquisition during the last two years, thus, it is also crucial to make sure employees are acquainted with the state-of-the-art equipment at the institution, said Lakshmana Viswanath, director of computer and telecommunication services (CTS).

"We all have technological capabilities, we care about employees, and we are training them to use the technological resources, which is not something that each employer does," Viswanath said.

If employees know how to use their computer programs, they will do their jobs better and become more productive, he added.

CTS plans to expand the variety of the topics covered in the computer training sessions and offer employees intermediate computer sessions in the near future, Viswanath said.

While A&M International recognizes the importance of job-related training, it also cares about the health of employees, said Elizabeth N. Martinez, director of human resources.

In order to help its staff maintain their health, A&M International has been offering seminars and wellness screenings to employees, emphasizing the importance of preventive care.

HealthStep, a wellness screening that all universities within The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) offer, collects data from employees and gives them a personalized overview of their health risks and needs, Martinez said.

After the screening, a summary of the overall health profile of all TAMUS employees and retirees is compiled. The information helps the System understand the health of its population and plan for future wellness activities in the areas considered to be of risk, Martinez said.

"What is critical is that you are healthy. The screening helps employees be aware of their health needs and take charge of their lives," Martinez said.

Other health-related programs that the University has and will continue to offer include workshops on the risk of smoking, Health Fair, flu vaccination, AIDS awareness, alcohol and drug awareness, blood drive, fitness through aerobic resistance and training, heart disease prevention, weight reduction and stress relief methods, Martinez said.

"We are continuously assessing the staff development needs and desires of the employees. Staff development programs have included customer service, writing skills, human resources policies, ethics, oral communication, the word usage, conflict management, leadership and the art of caring. I am always amazed at the interest of our employees in the area of staff development. Our staff development workshops are always full, which is an indication of their desire to be the best that they can," Martinez said.

Additional A&M International employee programs will include starting in January, an Employee Educational Program, which is intended to provide reimbursement of up to six credit hours per academic year to full-time faculty and staff who decide to take classes at the University.

For more information, please contact A&M International's CTS office at 326-2300 or the Office of Human Resources at 326-2365. Office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. University offices will be closed for the holidays Dec. 22 - Jan. 2.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu