Tyson Fresh Meats in Perry Iowa is proud to employ individuals from several different cultural backgrounds. Additional support for the immigrant and refugee workers is provided by Tyson in order to help employees navigate working at the company. Translated materials, on-site guidance, and now, thanks to a driven employee and Tyson’s partnership with DMACC Business Resources (DBR), a series of computer literacy classes.
The employee, who had worked for Tyson for over 30 years, was getting older and working on the production line was getting harder for them. They applied for an administrative position but didn’t have the computer skills needed for the role. The employee then did what many Tyson employees do when they have an issue – they approached the workplace Chaplin, Gus Henrici. Who, as part of his role as Chaplin, listens to employees when they are facing a barrier at work and helps find a solution. In this case, the employee asked for computer training. After hearing the issue, Henrici got to work.
His first call was to DBR. He knew that with the expertise of their Business Consultants and the resources of DMACC it was a great place to start. By working with his DBR Business Consultant and DMACC's Continuing Education Department, Henrici was able to connect with a DMACC instructor. Working together, Henrici and the DMACC instructor began developing a curriculum for an Introduction to Computers Class and by getting input from the employees asking for the training, they were able to ensure that it met everyone’s needs.
As it turned out the employee that initially asked for the training was not the only one in the workplace that had the desire to learn more about computers and technology. When announced, class quickly filled with workers eager to gain the skills offered. Computer basics were covered in the first course – how do you turn on the computer, how do you log in, how do you create a secure password, and an introduction to standard Microsoft programs.
Henrici has been so encouraged by the employees who have taken this computer class, “We’re investing in our people. They are not only gaining computer skills, but confidence. Many of them are English language learners and are often targeted for scams. They come to me, and I explain the scam and what is happening, but I’m seeing as they gain more computer skills, they can navigate these situations themselves. It gives them a whole new independence. As I see it, we are not just investing in employees, we are investing in people, their families, and futures.”
After the first computer class ended, students were not ready to stop learning. Henrici worked with DBR, DMACC resources, and Tyson employees to come up with a whole series of computer literacy classes. So now employees can learn how to make PowerPoint presentations, additional excel skills, personal budgeting, and more.
As for that first employee who approached Henrici about computer training, they applied for another administrative position while still taking their first computer class. However, this time they were able to put ‘learning computer skills’ on their application. This was enough for them to be hired for the position. “What once was a bit of a difficult sell to higher-ups, has now become a no-brainer. We are going to continue to offer these life-enriching classes to our employees for as long as they want them. I’m thankful to have DMACC’s support and DBR’s commitment to help make this happen.”