Sustaining Our World – 2017 Sustainability Report

Empowering Team Members Through Upward Academy

Incorporating best practices in employee care in our everyday operations is crucial to building stronger host communities.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also advantageous to our business by decreasing turnover and increasing retention. In other words, we support, educate and invest in our team members so they will stay with us over the long term.

Many of our team members are new immigrants to the U.S. and face unique and shifting challenges that we aim to address through our innovative on-site team member workplace education program, Upward Academy. The program is designed to focus on the needs of immigrant team members.

In partnership with local community organizations, Upward Academy provides team members with important life skills, offering free and accessible classes in English as a Second Language (ESL), General Educational Development (GED), citizenship and functional literacy. In 2017, we piloted healthcare and back-to-school events for team members’ children. In 2018, we are piloting workshops on financial literacy.

We launched the Upward Academy pilot program in FY2016 at one of our processing plants in Northwest Arkansas. The pilot realized encouraging results; more than 500 team members enrolled in the program and received more than 1,500 hours of instruction. All team members who participated reported being more satisfied at work than before attending Upward Academy classes.

Based on this initial success, we deployed Upward Academy to 20 Tyson Foods processing plants in Arkansas in FY2017 and plan to expand the program in several other states during FY2018, starting with Nebraska, North Carolina and Texas.

FY2017 Upward Academy Results:

  • 710 team members enrolled
  • More than 40,000 instructional hours presented