Through October 2008 Tyson Foods in Storm Lake assisted 68 team members in becoming U.S. Citizens. Ron Hott with citizenship reimbursement says the process to become a citizen can be a long process and often includes costly fees including a $675 application fee. Hott says Tyson is committed to helping team members become more successful and one way they do that is offering reimbursement to employes who become citizens. Through October, Hott says they've spent $34,075 in reimbursement fees.
"We just think it's a great accomplishment when our team members become citizens," says Hott. To be eligible to receive the reimbursement Hott says the individual must be employed at Tyson at the time and must present certificate of citizenship. Hott says the fees comes out of the SL plant's budget each year. Hott says the application fees have increased over the years he's worked at Tyson and says he remembers when fees were around $250 and $375.
Hott who has been at SL's plant since 2003 says he decided to recognize team members a step further by having a photo of each individual who becomes a citizen with Hott to publish in the Pilot-Tribune as a congratulatory measure and says he wants to publicly recognize each new citizen for their hard work in becoming citizens. Hott says he brought the tradition with him from Tyson's Denison plant to Storm Lake in 2003.
"This helps our team members succeed and helps maintain a stable workforce for us," he says. Hott says they facilitating helping team members as they prepare to become citizens whether it be to assist them in finding a Citizenship prep course or english language class. Currently Tyson has full time Spanish and Lao interpreters and has other language interpreters available when needed, languages including Vietnamese, Hmong and Karen.