Geneva Steel wants its employees to take home an education in addition to an income.

The company, working with Utah Valley Community College, is offering college courses for employees at the plant.It's a program that has benefits for both employees and the company.

"If they have better educated employees, they will do better as a company," said Christie Banks, a maintenance field service worker in the garage who just completed a computer class offered at the mill.

Carl Ramnitz, vice president of human resources, said, "I think we are moving toward an age when the level of education, level of understanding, is going to be paramount to our ability to compete."

Modernization projects at Geneva, such as the biological waste water treatment facility and installation of basic oxygen furnaces, will largely be computer-driven, according to Mitch Haws, Geneva public relations manager.

Operating the computers "requires a much higher level of education and understanding in employees. They are going to have to be acclimated to thinking faster.

"All the processes are going to be faster and more efficient as Geneva modernizes," he said.

About 10 employees completed the computer class taught one night a week in the conference room in Geneva's Human Resources Building.

"I have some schooling in computer programming at (UVCC), and I just wanted to update my knowledge on it in case other job openings come out here," Banks said.

Geneva initially arranged to have 10 classes taught at the plant beginning last fall but ended up with only one class - Introduction to Computers, which focuses on WordPerfect - when it ran out of time to advertise the classes adequately. The course, which qualifies for college credit, was held during after-work hours and was offered at a slightly reduced tuition rate, Ramnitz said.

UVCC's "Education on Job Site" program is offered at a number of businesses in Utah County, including Valtek, Novell Inc. and PST-Pacific States Transport. Courses taught at job sites include various other computer classes and a business management course.

"It (being able to take the class at work) was wonderful," said Joe Larsen, maintenance supervisor for the pipe mill. "You don't have to fight parking lots at (UVCC), the crowds." Larsen also appreciated the small class size.

Larsen took the class so he'd be better able to use his home computer, but his training has come in handy at work: Larsen has done the scheduling for his department using WordPerfect while his secretary has been on vacation.