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Press Release

ATD Recognizes Tyson Foods for Innovation in Talent Development

Published Thu May 23 2019


(Washington D.C.), May 21, 2019 – During its 2019 International Conference & Exposition held in Washington, D.C., the Association for Talent Development (ATD) recognized organizations and individuals for their excellence and contributions across the talent development field. The ATD Awards ceremony was held on May 20.

This year’s winner of the Innovation in Talent Development Award is Tyson Foods.


This award is given in recognition of innovation that has had a measurable impact on an organization or audience, is moving the talent development industry forward, is sustainable, and is replicable within or outside the talent development field.

An American multinational corporation in the food industry, Tyson Foods employs more than 122,000 team members, most of whom are frontline workers. Many are immigrants or new Americans, with up to 50 different countries represented at some plant locations. Workers have varying levels of education and many don’t understand how to access social resources. Because of language and cultural barriers, some workers become victims of predatory lending, tax scams, and community misunderstandings.

These challenges can negatively impact workforce metrics like attendance and productivity. To address these issues, Tyson Foods launched Upward Academy, a program that provides free and accessible classes in English as a second language (ESL), high school equivalency, and U.S. citizenship. Classes in digital and financial literacy are also being rolled out in 2019.

The classes, delivered in partnership with adult education providers at state and local levels, are held on-site so that workers are in a familiar atmosphere. Courses are scheduled before and after work shifts so there are fewer challenges with transportation, child care, and other family commitments. They also tapped the federal government’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act resources to utilize federal and state funding for basic education classes.

A complete list of award winners can be found on ATD’s website.


About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD, is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. These professionals help others achieve their full potential by improving their knowledge, skills, and abilities. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports the work of professionals locally across 100 chapters, international strategic partners, and global member networks.

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