SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Smithfield Foods, Inc. and Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) are kicking off an innovative maintenance technician apprenticeship program at a signing ceremony for the first cohort at WITCC.

The newly developed four-year apprenticeship program is designed to provide hands-on engineering and mechanical training to Smithfield employees at the company’s Sioux City facility while they work toward a Technical Associate Degree from WITCC.

Students that enroll in the program will receive free college tuition, a federal journeyman’s license and full-time salary and benefits as they progress through the program.

The first cohort of the program consists of up to 15 apprentices made up of Smithfield employees from Sioux City and surrounding states.

The signing ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. on August 13.