Motorola's School For Parents

MAKING EMPLOYEES BETTER parents is Motorola's latest crusade. The company, where 44% of the workforce have kids under 18, just started a spate of courses teaching the difficult art of rearing kids. Subjects range from early childhood development to raising teens. In the next year, Motorola will roll out courses for such things as "blended" families (two parents bringing their families together) and "sandwich" families (parents caring for kids and aging parents).

Motorola requires every employee to take 40 hours of job-related training yearly, and to foster a better-educated workforce, it helps local schools. But out of concern with how family problems affected its workers, it enlisted consultants to design the new parenting classes, which count toward the 40 hours. It has mailed a booklet to every employee, The Role of the Adult in the Life of a Child, decorated with Motorola kids' drawings. One is shown here.

The object: to offer practical advice, using a group-discussion format. In the single-parent class, for instance, ideas fly on how to unwind with only a little time to yourself. Example: rock out to loud music in the car before picking up your kid from day care.