June 25, 2021

Osceola Foods creates hope for families of students looking to further their education

A common way to lower the full cost of a college education is to get a two-year degree from a community college, then, continue to a college that offers a four-year degree.

One problem is that tuition for a two-year degree from a community college is still be too expensive for many families.

Two-year colleges have been reporting declining enrollments for the past decade. The problem is predicted to get worse.

Hormel Foods Corp. looked for a way to to keep the pool of potential community college students viable in rural areas. In August the company announced that it will pay the full tuition of a two-year college for any of its employees’ dependent children who graduate from high school and meet the college’s entry requirements.

The program, Inspired Pathways, is not only about helping Hormel’s families with the funds needed to earn the degree. The program will help navigate the applications process for students and parents for the first time in the fall of 2021.

Hormel Foods has a longstanding commitment to education. The company had a competitive four year scholarship program administered by the National Merit Scholarship program for many years and have funded millions of dollars in scholarships, but wanted to do even more. The Inspired Pathways program was announced this summer by Jim Snee, Hormel Foods Chairman and CEO, and is overseen by an advisory board and staff including college admissions consultants.

“We wanted to give the gift of a college education to our team members to give to their children. We want them to know that their children have the opportunity for a college education that they may not have had,” said John Kempen, Osceola Foods plant manager. “This program is open to all children of our team members, regardless of their test scores, grade point average or ability to pay. This program not only supports students, but also the community colleges that serve as important pillars for many of our communities–and as springboards for those interested in further degree programs.”

Hormel Foods is excited for the impact this program will have for current and future Hormel Foods families.

Hormel Foods team members, both locally and nationally, will be serving as mentors to help students with the application process, and throughout their education.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide students with mentorship, internship and job opportunities during and after college. Hopefully, some of these students may choose to intern and ultimately work with Hormel Foods at some point in their career,” said Kempen. “We welcome the community’s help providing additional pathways for them to gain career experience and success, across all potential careers.”

Kempen hopes that anyone who knows an eligible student would encourage them to apply for the scholarship, to utilize the free college advising, or both.



Tyra Audlehelm

I grew up in Osceola and live here still with my husband and son. I graduated with my Bachelor degree in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2017. I have work at the OST since January of 2018.