Tyson Foods, Inc—Registered Apprenticeship Works!

Posted by Thao Nelson - On November 08, 2010 (EST)

Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is Loretta Shelley, Apprenticeship Program Manager, from the great state of Kansas. 

In 2008, the Kansas Department of Commerce (Commerce) was awarded a three-year grant from the USDOL.  The grant, Registered Apprenticeship WORKS! (RA WORKS!), funds the Related Technical Instruction (RTI) portion of training for WIA Dislocated Workers in an approved Registered Apprenticeship program.  One company who has successfully made use of these grant funds is Tyson Foods, Inc.

Partnership development and cooperation was a critical step to the success of the project. The collaborative initiative included Tyson Foods, Kansas WorkforceONE (the WIA local entity), Garden City Community College, and Commerce – Registered Apprenticeship.  Kansas WorkforceONE staff identified and contacted potential Dislocated Workers and other targeted groups registered in the www.KanasWorks.com system.  They conducted an initial assessment/screening to determine eligibility for WIA programs, assessed potential “fit” with open positions at Tyson, and oversaw the prep and oversight of the WorkReady! Assessments for job candidates.  All interested job candidates participated in BEST training—a job retention and work ethic workshop, took a plant tour, and interviewed for employment at Tyson.  Maintenance Mechanics were then selected and registered in the Tyson Registered Apprenticeship program.

Garden City Community College (GCCC) provided the RTI for Tyson’s program and the RA WORKS! grant paid part of the RTI for the apprentices. Apprentices attended morning classes at GCCC Monday-Thursday and completed the on-the-job learning at Tyson in the afternoons and on Fridays. They were trained and assessed in 13 competency areas. Tyson’s in-house computerized training modules and practice lab aligned and complemented the RTI at GCCC.  It provided structured applied learning connections for the apprentices, as well as a means to demonstrate mastery of both academic and workplace competencies.     

Tyson is very pleased with the outcome and success of this project.  They anticipated that implementing the Registered Apprenticeship model would reduce their turnover, and it did.  The first class had nine apprentices. Eight successfully completed the program.  All apprentices were WIA eligible and were supported by either the RA WORKS! or RA Scholarship model.  Apprentices received WIA funding for transportation and tools required for their job, based on need.  A second group of nine apprentices have started the program.  The company is in talks to develop and implement the program in other states.  This project has truly been a win-win-win for all its partners.    

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Modified On : November 08, 2010
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