Five students graduate from DMACC-Tyson 1+2 program

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Celebrating Friday the fourth graduating class in the Industrial Maintenance One-Plus-Two Training Program were, from left, Tyson Fresh Meats Plant Engineer Randy Leesley, DMACC students Eric Zerwas, Sherman King, Jose Ordonez, Zachary Barr and Jeremiah Howell and DMACC President Rob Denson.


Five students were honored Friday at a banquet for the fourth class to graduate from the Des Moines Area Community College VanKirk Career Academy and Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. partnership called the Industrial Maintenance One-Plus-Two Training Program.

The graduates were Zachary Barr, Jeremiah Howell, Sherman King, Jose Ordonez and Eric Zerwas. The grads and their families were treated to a banquet and ceremony at the Perry DMACC campus.

During their first year in the Industrial Maintenance One-Plus-Two Training Program, the student-workers took classes at the DMACC Perry Van Kirk Career Academy in the mornings and worked at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Perry in the afternoons and on Sundays. During the second and third years, employees will work full-time at the Tyson plant and then continue as full-time employees after graduation.

Classroom work began in June, and some of the topics in the classes included:

  • Industrial Electrical
  • Motors and Controls
  • Hydraulics/Pneumatics
  • Welding
  • Industrial Mechanical Maintenance
  • Mechanical Power Transmission

The starting wage was $19 per hour, and the student-workers were paid for attending classes. In addition, a full benefit and insurance package will be available on the first Monday after two months of full-time employment.

Tyson sank about $15,000 into the program when it first partnered with DMACC in 2018, and both partners in the One-Plus-Two program came away with positive impressions.

“This was a great opportunity to partner with such a great school as DMACC and to enhance this great community of Perry,” said Tyson Maintenance Training Supervisor Christopher Roberts. “We look forward to maintaining this partnership for many years to come as we train the next generation of maintenance technicians. This program provides a good career option for students and allows DMACC to expand its vocational training opportunities in Perry.”

Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. employs about 1,300 people at its Perry plant. The Des Moines Area Community College serves nearly 60,000 students at 12 campuses around central Iowa.

For more information about the Industrial Maintenance One-Plus-Two Training Program, contact the the Tyson Fresh Meats Employment Office at 13500 I Court in Perry.

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