Tyson Foods Inc., based in Springdale, Arkansas, is launching Upward Pathways, an in-plant career development program that provides frontline team members with job skills training and workforce certifications at no cost.
The program will be piloted at 10 of the company’s plant locations and is a partnership between Tyson, adult education providers and community colleges to establish a standardized promotional pathway for team members.
Classes are currently available to workers at the company’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, case-ready beef and pork facility and will be implemented at the remaining nine locations throughout 2021.
Completion of Upward Pathways curriculum will culminate in a Tyson-branded credential that recognizes the skills gained by team members and signals readiness for advancement within the company. Industry recognized workforce certifications focusing on safety training and other core curriculum also will be offered.
Additional areas of focus include digital fluency and soft skills training, such as time management and leadership skills.
“Our team members are the most important part of our business, and we view it as our responsibility to provide opportunities to grow and thrive in their careers,” said John R. Tyson, chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “We’re excited to launch Upward Pathways as the next step from Upward Academy, which has seen tremendous success in providing resources to team members to help them take control of their own development and professional growth.”
Upward Pathways will be led by Anson Green, who joined Tyson Foods in 2020 after seven years serving as the state director for adult education and literacy for the state of Texas.
“The goal of Upward Pathways is to identify and grow the untapped talent in our frontline workforce,” said Green. “The program represents a strategic effort to bolster career advancement efforts by maximizing the expertise, loyalty and powerful diversity of our frontline workers. The approach leverages our community-based partnerships to deliver education, training and supportive services aimed at increasing the competitiveness of our team members for advancement opportunities.”
Upward Pathways complements the company’s Upward Academy program, which focuses on supporting and helping stabilize the lives of team members through the development of general life-skills such as English as a Second Language, citizenship, high school completion, digital and financial literacy. Upward Academy is currently in use across 59 Tyson plant sites and continues to grow.
The addition of Upward Pathways gives all team members access to a robust and equitable career pathway, strengthening an internal pipeline of skilled team members in an increasingly complex production environment.
“Upward Pathways is one of the most important projects Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is working on,” said Tammy Green, director of workforce and IT innovation for Metropolitan Community College. “It is an opportunity for people to find the support they need to participate in advanced educational opportunities. MCC reached out to 1,100 of our program participants, and 86 percent want to advance in their careers. The partnership with Tyson and the Upward Pathways program will help develop a model to help people advance in their careers using education and career coaching as a tool for success.”
Tyson facilities and training providers where the program will be piloted include:
- Albertville, Alabama. (Northeast Alabama Community College);
- Berryville, Arkansas (North Arkansas College);
- Green Forest, Arkansas (North Arkansas College);
- Portland, Indiana (Muncie Community Schools);
- Council Bluffs, Iowa (Metropolitan Community College);
- Finney, Kansas (Garden City Community College);
- Dakota City, Nebraska (Northeast Community College);
- Omaha, Nebraska (Metropolitan Community College);
- Goodlettsville, Tennessee (Workforce Essentials Inc.); and
- Seguin, Texas (Alamo Colleges District).