Des Moines Area Community College’s mission is to provide quality, affordable, education and training to empower students as they pursue life’s opportunities. Every year hundreds of students take advantage of the dual enrollment classes at the VanKirk Career Academy in Perry that allow them to earn college credit while they are still high school students. Many working adults also take the opportunity of going to college in the evenings. Another great opportunity offered at the VanKirk Academy is the 1+2 training program in partnership with Tyson Fresh Meats.

The program provides the opportunity to work full-time at a Tyson facility while pursuing a certificate in industrial maintenance technology. Students get paid to attend classes in the morning and work at Tyson in the afternoon. In addition to the competitive wages that they earn, students come away from the program with a foundation in electricity, programmable logic controllers, welding, print reading and more. The students come in with various skill levels but by the end of the program, they are ready to join Tyson’s maintenance department.

“This year’s group of students was very good. I’m confident the 10 graduates will represent the 1+2 program very well and many of them will go on to become leaders in their field,” said Eddie Diaz, DMACC VanKirk Academy. “Tyson’s partnership with us has been great and I expect the program to take another leap with the next group.”

In addition to the 1+2 program, the VanKirk Academy is working with industry partners to develop an Applied Engineering program for area high school students that will help accelerate paths into the industry.

During the graduation ceremony, Tyson plant manager presented the DMACC VanKirk Academy with a donation of equipment worth over $25,000.

“Our company and other manufacturers with operations in Iowa have a tremendous need for more workers with strong vocational skills,” said Steve Stouffer, Group President, Tyson Fresh Meats. “We value the partnerships we’ve developed with DMACC and ICCC to help meet this need through new and improved training programs.”