MORRILTON, Ark. – Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. has awarded the Univ. of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) a $200,000 grant from its Ways We Care corporate giving program, according to a UACCM release. The company’s support of the Give Meaning campaign gives it naming rights for workforce and training space in the college’s future Workforce Training Center.

UACCM and Tyson’s Dardanelle plant are industry partners with several of the college’s technical programs aligning with Tyson workforce needs. Six of the company’s current employees serve on UACCM’s technical advisory committees.

The technical programs of interest include industrial mechanics and maintenance and commercial refrigeration. The Tyson employees also participate in a focus group for a possible diesel mechanics program due to the company maintaining its in-house fleet of trucks.

“As an Arkansas company, it’s important for us to invest in the people of our state," Annetta Tirey, director of corporate social responsibility for Tyson Foods, said in a statement. “This training center will not only help close the skills gap for many already in the workforce, but also provides new opportunities for those seeking careers in high-demand job fields."

The Tyson Foods website states that the company gives charitable investments within its communities through a strategic process that focus on target areas in the categories of hunger relief, health and nutrition, education, community development, and environmental and sustainable agriculture.

The Ways We Care program focuses on education and students that show potential in their industry and a possible future as Tyson team members.

“Our partnership with Tyson Foods has been a mutually beneficial endeavor,” Larry Davis, PhD, UACCM chancellor, said in a statement. “Almost 25% of Tyson’s maintenance staff is set to retire over the next year. This partnership is a great opportunity for UACCM to help fill that gap with students who have been trained, with Tyson’s help, to exceed industry standards. Their donation to the Give Meaning campaign, as well as their industry partnership, helps to ensure we are able to continue to offer the most comprehensive technical training available in Arkansas.”