Wallace State Community College’s adult education program and Tyson Foods in Blountsville, Alabama, have announced a new partnership.
Starting this month, Wallace State will be providing English as a second language (ESL) classes to employees onsite at the Tyson Foods facility. Employees will also be encouraged to take advantage of free general equivalency diploma (GED) prep and job skills development classes at Wallace State’s campus in Oneonta or one of its other locations.
So far, about 133 Tyson team members have signed up for the program, with 66 interested in completing the GED.
“We want to do everything we can do to provide great opportunities like this to our team members to improve their quality of life,” said Mark Bromley, Plant Manager.
Tyson Foods, which has been in operation in Blountsville since the 1980s, now employs approximately 760 individuals.
“We are excited about establishing this new partnership with Tyson Foods and look forward to using this program as a model for working with many other businesses and industries to provide opportunities for their employees to progress in their educational attainment, upgrade their skills, and improve their opportunities for future advancement,“ said Cynthia Arrington, Director of Adult Education at Wallace State.
Three classrooms in a building previously used for training at Tyson Foods have been designated for use by Wallace State. Computers are being added soon.
ESL classes will be offered from 12 to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday so that students can attend class three days a week, either before their shift begins or after it ends.
GED classes are offered in Oneonta each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an orientation taking place during that time every Monday.
“This will be extremely beneficial to our team members,” said Cindie Light, HR Manager at Tyson Foods in Blountsville. “It will give them an opportunity to advance in their personal and professional life.”
Adult Education is a free non-profit program that assists individuals who have discontinued public education enrollment or who do not have a high school diploma, as well as those who need basic skills development for employment purposes. ESL is also part of the Adult Education program. These services are offered across the state through a state-funded grant program administered by the Alabama Community College System.
In addition to classes at Tyson Foods, Wallace State’s Adult Education classes are currently offered on Wallace State’s campuses in Hanceville and Oneonta; at The Link and the Alabama Career Center in Cullman; at Eva Town Hall in Morgan County; in Double Springs, at Meek High School, and coming soon to the Lynn community in Winston County.
Students who successfully complete the GED receive a free scholarship for one college credit class at Wallace State.