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Tyson Foods Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of Upward Academy

April 26, 2021 1:13pm

Tyson Foods is celebrating the five-year anniversary of its on-site education program, Upward Academy.

The innovative program provides educational opportunities to front line team members at no cost to help build a strong workforce and strong communities.

Tyson Foods plants are predominantly located in rural areas with limited labor pools, which means it relies on developing and promoting talent internally. Many of the front line team members are new to the U.S. and come from dozens of different countries.

In partnership with local adult education providers, Upward Academy helps team members develop important life skills, offering free and accessible classes in English as a Second Language, High School Equivalency, U.S. citizenship, financial literacy and digital literacy. To make it as convenient as possible for team members to attend, classes are offered in Tyson Foods plants immediately before and after shifts.

Yamila Arias Tapia, who began working at the Storm Lake, Iowa plant in 2016, says the program positively impacted her life. She started working at the plant as a custodian, and she worked her way up to a position on the processing floor where she packages finished product. She is currently enrolled in the program for English as a second language, and it’s benefiting her both professionally and personally.

“To me, Tyson is the American Dream and Upward Academy has done so much to help me,” Yamila said. “This program has improved my English so much, I’m able to help my child with schoolwork and talk with other parents at sporting events, which was difficult for me before. I’m grateful Tyson provides this opportunity for its employees.”

Upward Academy continues to experience success in its efforts. Recently, the complementary career development program, Upward Pathways, launched and provides front line team members job skills training and workforce certifications in the plant at no cost.