WITCC, Tyson develop program to improve skilled trade workforce

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Throughout the U.S., there has been a shortage of skilled trade workers.

To help combat this problem, Tyson and Western Iowa Tech Community College teamed up. Tyson donated an entire classroom full equipment for students to train on.

Ruben Garcia is one of the nine students graduating from the One Plus Two program, the first of its kind being offered at WITCC.

“I wish I could have had this opportunity earlier in life, but its a great opportunity, great pay, and its a way to better your life,” said Ruben Garcia, a student apart of the One Plus Two program.

After 12 months, him and his classmates are walking away debt free with a degree in Industrial Technical, and in exchange, the students will now spend two years as a technician at the Dakota City Tyson plant.

“Just, like, to obviously move up within the company, but yeah, they are a great company and great opportunities, so keep growing with them,” said Garcia.

However, the degree did not come easy. Students worked hard, spending two days a week inside the classroom getting technical training on equipment.

Then students would spend three days getting hands on work experience inside the Dakota City Tyson plant.

“I mean, going from C shift, graveyard, overnight, to all of a sudden having a 16-hour breather, then being right back at eight in the morning, changing that schedule back and forth was tough, but it was all worth it in the end,” said James Stuart, a student apart of the One Plus Two program.

The overall goal of this partnership between WITCC and Tyson is to help increase the availability of skilled industrial maintenance and technicians workers in Siouxland. To best prepare students, Tyson donated nearly half a million dollars worth of equipment for student to be trained in the classroom.

“We are able to emulate that with the training here because it is our equipment and its worked out extremely well to keep people safe and train them on exactly what they will be doing,” said Dale Masters, with Tyson Fresh Meats.

Tyson is hoping after the two years on the job, these workers will have the ultimate goal to grow inside the Tyson company.

“Then you know, then you can go to management, supervisor, or management support, it’s never ending, however you want to push or shelf and how you want to or how much you want to learn,” said Tom Donahue, with Tyson Fresh Meats.

“I defiantly want to stay with the company, you see all that they do for you and how much they care, you can feel it,” said Stuart.

Tyson and WITCC say they plan to continue the 1 plus 2 program next year where they will welcome 12 new students.

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