Tyson Foods donates more than $50,000 in equipment to Eastern Iowa Community Colleges
If you’ve enjoyed chicken, beef or pork lately, whether from the grocery store or maybe your favorite restaurant, there’s a good chance your dinner was produced by Tyson Foods. After all, Tyson produces one in five pounds of all chicken, beef and pork in the United States. Last year, the company boasted 40 billion in sales.
To keep up with that kind of demand, a well-trained workforce is paramount and there is no better partner to provide that training than Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC). EICC and Tyson have been collaborating for years to train employees, so when Tyson saw a need for new mechanical and hydraulic trainers the company stepped right in with a generous donation.
“They donated mechanical benches and hydraulic benches, as well as equipment used for mechanical alignments, bearings and shafts,” said Mike O’Brien, EICC’s Business Training Solutions Talent and Curriculum Manager. “They’re used everywhere in manufacturing.”
“We strive to ensure our team members are prepared and properly trained on skills necessary for their positions and have opportunities to continue to learn and grow,” said Brent McElroy, Plant Manager of Tyson’s Louisa County facility. “This donation allows us to more adequately provide a sufficient amount of training equipment needed for students’ hands-on learning and also better aligns with the training materials for specific programs in our facilities.”
The new equipment is located at the college’s Blong Technology Center and Muscatine Community College’s Columbus Junction Center. Students enrolled in EICC’s and Tyson’s 1 + 2 program are already using the trainers to prepare for jobs as industrial maintenance technicians. The nine month, 580-hour program trains Tyson workers from both the company’s Columbus Junction, Iowa and Joslin, Ill. plants, providing workers with no experience the opportunity for growth and advancement. Graduates agree to work with the company for two years and earn wages that are more than double the average per capita income for the county. Since the program’s inception in 2016, Tyson has begun building a new, skilled workforce from their current, local employees.
“We’re changing people’s lives,” said O’Brien. “This program has allowed people to get better paying jobs and health insurance. We’re able to do something positive for the community and the company.”
The trainers are also mobile, which means EICC can take the training anywhere including other businesses and facilities. O’Brien said the donation is a testament to the high-quality programming EICC provides for not only Tyson, but hundreds of local companies.
“We’ve established good working relationships with businesses,” O’Brien said. “Whether Tyson, Sterilite or Mid-American, companies are comfortable with our training and we’re filling the skills gap which is critical for all companies. This donation proves the product we’re putting out there is worthy of their financial investment in us.”
“We are proud to have invested with EICC, in funding and equipment, to drive technical education,” McElroy said.
Opportunities in Manufacturing
We have a number of programs available for those interested in starting a new career at the college’s Blong Technology Center, as well as Clinton and Muscatine Community Colleges. Programs include:
- Engineering Technology
- CNC Machining
- Mechanical Design