Tyson Foods was recently honored as the Impact Amplifier for its Upward Academy Online program at the Guild Opportunity Summit in Austin, Texas. Guild, the company that powers Upward Academy Online, recognized Tyson Foods for its efforts to dismantle systemic barriers and replace them with simple, innovative ways to transform communities through growth and opportunity.
Upward Academy Online gives U.S. team members access to more than 260 programs from approximately 35 universities and education providers while covering the full cost of tuition, books and fees. Upward Academy expanded to include online options through Guild in the Summer of 2022. Since then, 15,600-plus team members have joined and more than 3,600 team members have enrolled in a program.
The award was one of only four that Guild gave at its invitation-only Opportunity Summit. Olivia Walsh, vice president of Talent and Culture, accepted the award for Tyson Foods, joined onstage by Talent and Culture Program Manager Della Adams and Sherry Reese, production supervisor at the Enid, Oklahoma plant. Sherry also took part in a panel at the Summit to share her personal experience with Upward Academy and its impact on her career path. You can read Sherry’s story on the Feed Blog or see more of her comments on LinkedIn.
“This award confirms how important it is to make personal and professional development equitable for all team members. Upward Academy is a perfect representation of our talent philosophy at Tyson Foods — grow with us,” said Walsh. “We are very intentional about how people can advance in the company and look at Tyson Foods as an employer of choice. Whether you’ve been here ten days or ten years, whether you work in an office or on the front line, everyone at Tyson Foods deserves the opportunity to grow and advance.”
Team members enrolled in Upward Academy make up a student body as diverse as our workforce. There are 40 languages represented across enrolled team members. Among frontline team members – who make up two-thirds of participants — 51% are women, and 54% are women of color. And internal data shows that overall, team members who enroll in Upward Academy Online are more likely to stay with the company than their peers who do not participate.
“We’re encouraged to see how many team members at plants use Upward Academy to improve their English skills or get a GED. We know a high percentage are from other countries, and we’re passionate about giving them skills to help them build up their confidence and ability to grow, learn and contribute, not just work,” explained Walsh.
The Talent and Culture team has doubled down on courses and career paths that matter to the company’s growth and operational excellence. These include everything from supply chain and nursing to digital enablement and cybersecurity. All courses can be accessed free of charge from day one of employment without requiring management approval.
The Talent and Culture team are dedicated to supporting Upward Academy, curating online career paths, answering questions and helping people enroll. They do it because they believe in the power of education as a force multiplier to help people grow. This also supports an ambition to increase the bench of exceptional talent at the company — to be known not only for showing the world how much good food can do, but also to become the most sought-after place to work.
To learn more about the award-winning Tyson Foods Upward Academy, visit https://tyson.guildeducation.com/partner/.