We know that feeding our growing world means having a thriving workforce to help us get the job done. That’s why we work to create an environment where our team members can grow through initiatives like our 1+2 Maintenance Program.
Here’s how it works:
In the program, team members split their time between classroom education and hands-on experience in the plant. They are considered full-time team members, paid 40 hours per week and eligible for full benefits. Once completed, program graduates receive a certificate in industrial maintenance technology and are classified as level 8 technicians. Tyson also covers two-thirds of tuition costs for all students enrolled in the program.
1+2 Program curriculum includes hydraulics, welding, electricity and more to help team members prepare for careers working with automation, robotics, and other mechanical equipment in our facilities. Read on to learn about some of our program graduates below.
Celenia first heard about the 1+2 Program from her son. He had applied after graduating high school, and Celenia thought the program sounded interesting, so she decided to apply, too. She learned about welding, fixing conveyors, and troubleshooting electrical issues – and found it all fascinating. She had never considered a career in maintenance, but now encourages everyone, especially other females, to explore these positions.
“Anyone who wants to better themselves should try this program,” Celenia said, “and I strongly encourage other females. It will not only open new doors, but what you will learn, and the experience gained – you keep with you forever. Every day is not the same thing.”
And she acknowledges it’s been helpful in her personal life, too. Her 1+2 Program education helped her during some home remodeling and when her water heater went out, instead of paying a maintenance person, she was able to fix it herself.
Celenia and her son both continue to work at Tyson, and Celenia is proud of her newfound career and is looking forward to moving up at Tyson.
Originally from Bosnia, Ale immigrated to the U.S. in 1996. Ale had joined the Army there at a young age and didn’t have time to finish high school.
He started with Tyson Foods in 1997, working in production for 14 years at our Waterloo facility. He applied for a maintenance position in 2011, and later entered the 1+2 Program.
“It’s the best decision I’ve made [with Tyson Foods],” Ale said.
A career in maintenance gave Ale more opportunities for professional growth and offered better schedules for his growing family. In 2017, he was promoted to management support.
Shawn was a production trainer when a maintenance manager asked if he’d considered joining maintenance through the 1+2 program.
“The program gives you time you need to learn, with good instructors,” Shawn said.
The 1+2 Program not only gave Shawn the chance to advance in his career, but also created a positive change at home. He’s more financially stable, has a better work-life balance, and applies his new skills at home, like being able to change out light switches and ceiling fans. Overall, he said, he feels more successful in life.
Shawn is now a maintenance support manager, overseeing critical equipment and a team of five.
“If I can do it, I think anybody can.”
Developing and advancing team members is a cultural cornerstone at Tyson Foods. Earlier this year, we launched Upward Pathways, an in-plant career development program that provides frontline team members with job skills training and workforce certifications at no cost.
Upward Academy – which is about to enter its sixth year – helps team members develop important life skills, offering free and accessible classes in English as a Second Language (ESL), High School Equivalency (HSE), U.S. citizenship, financial literacy, and digital literacy. Learn more about how Tyson Foods supports and advances team members here.