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Wired for Success

Jenny Qi | June 25, 2024

Impact | Hormel Inspired Pathways

Son of Hormel Foods team member builds the foundation for a career as an electrician with help from Inspired Pathways.

Hard Worker

Curtis, for his part, described Ben as having been an active kid who enjoyed hands-on learning and a “very hard worker” who likes to keep busy. This was reflected not only in Ben’s current path but also in his high school jobs, which included working at a Jennie-O farm as a maintenance person, where he loved helping people fix things and the fast pace of the work, aspects that he now enjoys about his career as an electrician.

An involved and practical parent, Curtis supported his son’s decision to attend a two-year school rather than four-year college as he had, and he helped Ben with his Inspired Pathways and college applications. They received help from Program Director Nate Lockett throughout the process. “Working with Nate has been nothing but awesome,” Curtis said. “He’s super helpful. He comforts you, like ‘I know FAFSA stuff is going on, and I assure you we’re not gonna leave you hanging.’”

Ben’s debt-free out of college and already working. My wife and I are very, very appreciative of the company putting that on the table.

Curtis Palmer, Inspired Pathways Parent

Both father and son expressed enthusiastic appreciation of Hormel Foods for the generosity of the Inspired Pathways initiative. “With four boys, it was a godsend to have that opportunity offered,” Curtis said. “Ben’s debt-free out of college and already working. My wife and I are very, very appreciative of the company putting that on the table. And my boys appreciate it and recognize that this is something that not everyone gets.”

Inspired Pathways Made It Possible

Without the tuition support provided by Inspired Pathways, Ben’s pursuit of a career as an electrician would have been much less feasible, especially with the added expense of books and tools, which students must cover on their own. The costs vary by trade, but for an electrical program, their tools alone add hundreds of dollars of expenses. Ben said of Inspired Pathways, “It gave me the flexibility to do other things,” noting that it’s uncommon for full-tuition scholarships to be offered for students entering trade schools.

Now, Ben’s younger brother Adam is following in his footsteps, having also successfully applied to participate in the Inspired Pathways program and soon to begin studying to become an HVAC technician. Like his brother Ben, Adam is also working at the same Jennie-O farm before starting college. Curtis thinks there’s a chance his older sons can both end up working back at Hormel Foods in the future. In addition to the enormous boon to his family specifically, he says of Inspired Pathways, “It’s good potential reinvestment into their employees.”