Our Commitment

At Pilgrim’s, we are dedicated to offering growth and development opportunities to team members. We offer leadership and training programs to team members to further develop incoming and existing leaders. We know that leaders are not born—they are made—and we pride ourselves on employing and recognizing people who have the potential to be successful leaders.

Our Management Approach

Our team members have the opportunity to receive leadership training through many programs developed by the Culture and Talent team, which works across Pilgrim’s and our parent company, JBS USA, to maintain a continuous pipeline of talented team members. Our leadership programs are tailored to the needs of each business unit with communication across units to share best practices and results.

Internship Program

The Internship Program gives college students an opportunity to gain practical

industry experience and develop extensive leadership skills. This 10-week summer internship challenges approximately 70 participants through hands-on learning experiences and meaningful projects that improve our business and provide education and valuable workplace experience. Interns are placed in either a production or corporate business unit role where they learn from experienced leaders who offer them industry exposure and networking opportunities with senior management. Not only are our internships paid positions, but the program also allows students to receive college credits.

Management Trainee Program

Recent college graduates looking to pursue their passion for building a career in the animal protein industry can apply to our Management Trainee Program. This 12-month rotational program is designed for those ready to excel in our technical, cultural and leader-based work environments. Customizable rotations allow trainees to grow their project management, problem-solving and collaboration skills in line with their own interests and career aspirations. Each year, we onboard nearly 35 trainees from the U.S. and Mexico. The orientation curriculum empowers trainees to strive for individual success while contributing to Pilgrim’s operations.

Mexico Trainee Program

The Mexico Trainee Program is designed to create a pipeline of recent college graduates from Mexico who will develop into future operations leaders. This 12-month rotational leadership development program is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in multiple areas of a facility giving and an in-depth understanding of how pieces of our business work together. The first six months of the training program are spent in Mexico at a Pilgrim’s processing facility. The last six months are spent in the U.S. with the intention of trainees being placed in a leadership role at that facility. Throughout the 12 months, trainees go through three leadership development training sessions to prepare them for an accelerated career.

University of Pilgrim’s, Mexico

University of Pilgrim’s is a training system directed to all levels to strengthen the performance of our team members and achieve results. To date in Mexico, we have been able to help more than 170 team members develop personally and professionally and obtain their High School Degree.

Moy Park Accelerated Future Leaders Program

The Accelerate Future Leaders program supports the development of our future senior leaders in the business focusing on personal effectiveness, influencing and commercial awareness to lead our teams to “Be the Best.”

Tulip Operational Leadership Trainee Program

Our Operational Leadership Trainee Program was created in 2019 to identify internal and external early careers talent, such as recent graduates or apprentices, who have the potential to become future operational leaders. It is a 24-month rotational program whereby trainees spend six-month placements at various UK facilities working on key operational projects. Alongside this they attend four residential workshops based on leadership and management, working towards a recognizable management qualification. Trainees are assigned a mentor from the leadership team to build their confidence and learn from them in order to accelerate their career. We currently have two trainees and are in the process of recruiting four more to start in September 2020.

Tulip Apprenticeships

We are able to support and develop colleagues through a wide-range of apprenticeships which combine on and off-the-job learning to improve knowledge, skills and behaviors. We currently have 128 colleagues enrolled on apprenticeships in a wide range of disciplines including finance, project management, HR, food science and management. Our apprenticeships range from entry-level to MBA degrees.

Supervisor Development Program

Our Supervisor Development Program was created to identify hourly production team members who possess leadership abilities and to develop those team members into front-line supervisors with the potential for continued advancement. The Supervisor Development Program is designed to invest in driven, passionate and results-oriented team members by giving them the tools they need to accelerate their careers within Pilgrim’s. Totaling more than 45 team members per session, the program includes four months of rotational training in a Pilgrim’s facility, leadership skills training and the opportunity to meet with and learn from other leaders across the company.

Leadership Warehouse Program

At Pilgrim’s, our goal is to create a culture that yields sustained excellence. Our Leadership Warehouse works to motivate team members to do their part in the continuation of Pilgrim’s culture. The Leadership Warehouse Program outlines six different leadership development offerings, providing education opportunities to different levels of leadership. We provide team members with access to programs that further their own leadership abilities, and propels Pilgrim’s closer to its vision. Each of the Leadership Warehouse development programs are designed and facilitated internally allowing us to offer culturally relevant and company-oriented leadership solutions.

  • Summit
    Summit is built for senior leaders who are interested in continued learning and growth. The program is open to all JBS USA and Pilgrim’s business units and brings together 25 nominated, high-potential leaders for yearlong education. The Summit introduces nominees to business concepts by partnering with executive sponsors and local business leaders to solve real-world problems occurring at local facilities. With exposure to JBS operations in the U.S., Australia and Brazil, Summit participants gain business knowledge from every unit of the company.
  • Strategic Leadership
    Strategic Leadership is a weeklong leadership development education program designed to guide mid-level managers in three leadership categories: self, others and process. The Strategic Leadership program builds on the groundwork that mid-management leaders have honed, pushing their knowledge and experience even further. Much of the practical items taught are adapted from the Pilgrim’s culture, but the overall focus of the program is to develop competent and inspiring leaders.
  • Elective Learnings
    Our Elective Learnings program offers complimentary training courses online for any team member interested in improving their skills. The trainings include relevant and ad hoc lessons on company topics, such as “Communication Across Generations,” “Accountability and Ownership” and “Building Engaged Teams.”
  • People First
    The People First Program creates a success framework for our frontline supervisors, mid-level managers and corporate managers. The program provides specific training to all frontline supervisors in four sessions throughout the year, focusing on leadership techniques and tools that build, maintain and uplift our teams. Program topics include building trust and respect, the cost of turnover, accountability, delegation and prioritization, communication and information sharing. To empower our team members, we identify and train internal team members to become facilitators of the People First Program.
  • Leadership Fundamentals
    Leadership Fundamentals is our new manager training program designed for recently promoted or hired team members coming from outside the company. The one-day program is offered eight times throughout the year, giving new leaders exposure to our Values, Vision and Beliefs, while also offering basic leadership skills such as effective team communication, delegation and performance management.
  • Development Workshops
    The Development Workshop program is designed for salary non-exempt and hourly team members in supporting corporate roles to meet their growing personal and professional needs. This past year, we offered more than 100 hours in development workshop trainings and plan to develop additional content and more training hours in 2019.

Individual Development

Pilgrim’s also offers full tuition sponsorship for a wide array of coursework through JBS USA’s 10-year partnership with Colorado State University. This partnership includes executive MBA, online MBA, graduate certificate, professional certificate and online agribusiness degree completion programs.

2019 Progress

Key Achievements


hours of training provided through University of Pilgrim’s Mexico


team members trained through our Leadership Warehouse Program


hours of training provided through our Leadership Warehouse Program


frontline supervisors trained through our People First Program


hours of training provided through our People First Program

At Pilgrim’s, our programs create a culture of excellence and result in strong retention of graduates and high job satisfaction among seasoned team members. In 2019, we experienced success across all leadership and development programs.

Each of our talent initiatives yielded impressive results in 2019:

  • Over $10 million investment in leadership training and development in the U.S., Mexico and Europe
  • A record >255,000 hours of leadership training and development programming in the U.S., Mexico and Europe
  • Our talent initiatives are garnering more and more attention worldwide with applicants to our programs exceeding 2,000 in 2019 in the U.S.
  • Pilgrim’s Moy Park trained 70 people through their Accelerate program
  • Pilgrim’s Mexico assisted more than 170 team members with obtaining their High School degree
  • Pilgrim’s Tulip enrolled two inaugural trainees through their Operational Leadership Trainee program and enrolled 128 team members in their apprenticeship program
  • Our 2019 Internship Program grew to nearly 47 interns with 21% of total interns who were converted into full-time team members as either trainees or direct hires in the U.S. alone
  • Our 2019 Management Trainee Program on-boarded 35 trainees and enjoyed a 73% retention rate in the U.S. and Mexico
  • In 2019, we graduated 22 of our 2018 trainees in the U.S. into management roles at the superintendent level and above
  • Our 2019 Supervisor Development Program had a 61% retention rate in the U.S.
  • Pilgrim’s Mexico helped 170 team members obtain their high school degree
  • We provided academic services in the U.S. for:
    • 3 undergraduate degrees in agribusiness
    • 5 online MBAs
    • 2 executive MBAs
    • >80 credit hours of certificate programming
  • Even more aggressive figures budgeted for in 2020

Looking ahead, we are excited about and committed to supporting the growth of our interns, trainees and team members as they start or continue their careers in the food industry.

We are proud of our results and will continue to look for ways to strengthen all our team member engagement programs and efforts in 2020.