Life Skill Building


The front-line workforce at Tyson Foods is faced with low literacy, limited English proficiency and skills gaps that lead to challenges in our team member’s personal lives. These personal challenges create workplace instabilities that impact attendance, employee turnover, career pathway movements, and workplace safety.


Upward Academy is a workforce education program with a mission to reduce the impact of social challenges for front-line team members and their families by providing free and accessible classes in English as a Second Language (ESL), High School Equivalency (HSE), U.S. Citizenship, and other essential life and workplace skills such as digital and financial literacy.

Conducted by adult education instructors with extensive experience working with diverse communities, Upward Academy classes take place on-site at the plants of Tyson Foods, providing team members the opportunity to learn in a familiar atmosphere with fewer obstacles around transportation, child care and scheduling conflicts. Classes are available to all team members and are scheduled before and after shifts.

Ultimately, the vision is to establish Tyson Foods as an industry leader in employee care by providing an onsite workplace education program.

  • 19 Adult Education partners providing classes for Upward Academy
  • 26 Plants with Adult Education partners providing classes
  • 1,000+ team members enrolled in ESL, HSE and citizenship classes
  • 100,000+ total instructional hours for team members
  • 31% of Northwest Arkansas team members enrolled have educational gains.

Leslie Drish
[email protected]


As the largest U.S. food company, we have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to make a difference. I’m proud of the commitments we’ve made to the CEO Action on Diversity & Inclusion and even prouder of the way our team is acting on them. If we want to truly understand and impact the world outside our business, we must be inclusive inside our business. Diversity makes us stronger.

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