Breaking News
More () »

UAFS to assist displaced Tyson workers after Van Buren plant closure

The university says it is partnering with local agencies to provide Tyson team members with the resources and assistance they need following the closure.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Following Tyson's recent announcement that it will permanently close its Van Buren plant, the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith (UAFS) Center for Economic Development announced that they will offer various resources and services to assist employees. 

“We understand that plant closings can be difficult and that dislocated workers often face challenges when trying to find new employment opportunities. The Center for Economic Development will be offering a variety of resources and services to help these individuals navigate these challenges and move forward with their careers,” said Kendall Ross, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Development.

Some of these services include: 

  • resume building
  • reskilling and training programs
  • job placement assistance
  • entrepreneurial training

For displaced workers interested in entering traditional educational pathways, UAFS Admissions Advisors, including Spanish-speaking staff members, have agreed to attend job, education and placement fairs held at the Van Buren plant over the coming months. 

Individuals who need to continue working may be eligible for evening and online courses offered at the university, and those who have prior college experience may be able to apply to the university’s Adult Degree Completion Program.

Ross further stated that the economic impact of the plant closure could be greater than immediate job losses. 

“The ripple effect of a nondurable goods plant closure is estimated at 500 jobs impacted for every 100 jobs lost, according to the Economic Policy Institute,” he stated. “In other words, in a plant closing of 969 jobs could have a ripple impact of more than 4,980 indirect job losses in the River Valley.”

The university says it is working closely with multiple agencies including the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Peak Innovation Center, and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to provide Tyson team members with the resources and assistance they need.

In addition, UAFS offers both credit and non-credit education programs to meet the diverse needs of the Tyson Van Buren team members.

Ross added that the university has already secured funding for skills training, and has the ability to retool the displaced workers at no cost to the individual. Training at the CED is available in both English and Spanish. 

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com.

Before You Leave, Check This Out