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Kansas WorkforceONE - Elmore Center

Tyson Foods Skills Training Program

Community Challenge/Problem

The Tyson Foods plant in Finney County, KS, needed specialized maintenance workers to attend to its equipment. Although the company had developed a in-house training program, they were challenged in finding workers with basic maintenance skills to fill open positions and turned to Kansas WorkforceONE in Elmore for assistance.

Board Solution/Innovation

KansasWorks partnered with Garden City Community College to access its Industrial Maintenance Technology program curriculum as a basic training program for the Tyson Foods hires. Eighteen individuals came on board at Tyson, learning on-the-job as well as in the classroom, and receiving full time pay even though they spent 16 hours per week offsite attending their college courses. KansasWorks adapted its Apprentice program to Tyson's competency-based training program, and GCCC modified its teaching methods to focus on lab-demonstrated skills. Through KansasWorks, funding was provided to offset the college tuition - funding which was not available through Tyson. WIA funds, an apprenticeship grant, and On-the-Job training funds supported the transition of these individuals from unemployed to skilled employment.

Participants in the program supported each other, and when someone was struggling to maintain motivation, Tyson management, KansasWorks staff, and classmates all intervened to help that person stay focused, on track, and accountable. Tyson invested additional funding to create a 2200sqf training facility at the plant in Finney complete with customized lab benches for employees to use for practice and learning during their training periods, with the idea of creating support to help trainees succeed.

Outcomes & Results

The entire class of 18 students has completed the program. They have full time employment at Tyson foods and a one-year certificate in Industrial Maintenance Technology from GCCC. In addition, they are confident and they have a peer employee group that they are very invested with, increasing their job satisfaction and potential for career success.

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