Tyson Foods will spend $60 million over four years to fund free college education for its 120,000 employees. A partnership with Guild will expand Tyson’s Upward Pathways program to include 100% of tuition, books and fees for employees seeking undergraduate, master’s or associate degrees, certificates, literacy and technology training.
The program begins this summer giving employees access to more than 175 programs from more than 35 universities and learning providers through an online portal.
“This commitment to our team members (employees) reinforces our belief that they are the lifeblood of our current and future success. Providing equity and opportunity to every single member of our team is part of our goal to make Tyson the most sought-after place to work,” said John R. Tyson, chief sustainability officer at Tyson Foods. “Providing education benefits will continue to lay a foundation for personal and career growth for our team members.”
An online portal will provide Tyson employees access to curriculum and courses covering foundational skills, career certificates and academic degrees in general business, supply chain & operations, agriculture, manufacturing and automation and sustainability.
The program with Denver-based Guild will also provide education readiness opportunities with coursework leading to certificates in English proficiency, career readiness and frontline management. Other certificates will include leadership and management, technology and business.
“We are thrilled to partner with Tyson to further empower their team members to pursue career pathways that will help them open the doors to their dreams,” said Guild CEO Rachel Romer Carlson. “Tyson’s free education and upskilling program is enhancing its commitment to creating a top work environment and a workplace of growth.”
Walmart offers a similar program through Guild for its more than 1.2 million U.S. employees who pay $1 per day through payroll deductions. Walmart has said the $1 per day gives employees some skin in the game and still makes it affordable for those who participate. Other companies with a Guild partnership include Chipotle, Disney, Lowe’s, and Waste Management.
Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King has said the company wants to be a preferred employer during this time of low labor force participation. The Springdale-based company spent more than $500 million in wage increases and bonuses for hourly workers last year. It also comes on the heels of $1 million to support immigrant workers’ legal costs of obtaining citizenship and retaining legal working status. Tyson is also piloting subsidized and onsite childcare, has seven free, near-site health centers, and an increasing number of its production facilities offer more flexible work schedules.