As Senior Director of Human Resources for Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE), Jennifer Alvarez has quite a bit on her plate. In the course of her career, she has done much to improve the quality of life in the Valley by dedicating her energy to supporting the public sector workforce in Imperial County. For Alvarez, though, this is much more than a job. It is, quite literally for her, a way of life that requires a constant strive toward continuous improvement in the quality of operations, service and support.
Her position is complex and encompasses multiple areas of expertise. While Alvarez heads up the Human Resources Department, which includes employee relations, recruitment, hiring, teacher credentialing, health benefits, workers’ compensation, and leaves of absences for over 450 ICOE employees, she is also responsible for supporting administration and management staff in understanding these areas affecting the organization’s most valuable asset — its employees. As if that were not enough, Alvarez does her part to implement various new personnel policies and programs at ICOE, most recently of which is her assignment to a planning team to help guide development of an upgraded Human Resources Information network to manage critical employee data in an automated system. In other words, Alvarez explains, amused: “I’m here to oversee all assigned areas affecting employees and am very hands-on.”
If her job sounds challenging, that’s because it is. As efficient as she is at what she does, she simply cannot manage it all alone. Alvarez works closely with a team of seven, the Assistant Superintendent of the division, one manager, one supervisor and four designated technicians, which makes up the Human Resources Department. This indispensable assistance makes the more strenuous obstacles — including layoffs during some of the difficult times — more manageable.
It is important, Alvarez maintains, that you keep what you are doing in perspective and remember your objective, which is, first and foremost, to help the employees any way that you can.
“Everything that we do impacts our employees’ lives on a day-to-day basis and often on a quite personal level. Sometimes I must deal with sensitive issues that can be complicated.”
Read more about Alvarez in the December 2013 print edition of Valley Women Magazine. Find a rack location near you or to subscribe to our bi-monthly magazine call 760-337-3456.