Southwire’s success relies on thriving communities, so we listen to, learn from and collaborate with the communities in which we operate.
Southwire engages with and supports our local communities in a variety of ways. We strategically focus our community efforts on supporting educational opportunities. By providing educational opportunities, Southwire enhances employment prospects for community residents while identifying a future talent pool for our company.
12 for Life®
Prior to 2007, the opening year of our 12 for Life program, Carroll County’s graduation rate hovered at 64 percent, meaning one student in three starting the first grade that year would not graduate. Since Southwire’s employment opportunities require candidates with diplomas or GEDs, Southwire devised strategies to reverse this trend by collaborating with Carroll County Schools. This partnership spawned our award-winning 12 for Life program.
This program serves the community by providing opportunity, education and employment for at-risk youth. It emphasizes that education opens doors to success. The program combines traditional classroom instruction with jobs inside a modified Southwire manufacturing environment. Students earn wages for their work and, most importantly, learn skills they will need after graduation. Southwire’s goal is to increase graduation rates among at-risk teenagers through 12 for Life by graduating 2020 students from the program by year-end 2020.
Since the program’s inception, our partnership expanded to include the Florence City Schools in Alabama. In January 2015, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools named the 12 For Life program of Florence City Schools a Banner School. The state of Georgia and the White House also adopted 12 for Life as a model for increasing graduation rates.
Southwire Engineering Academy (SWEA)
Southwire aims to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). SWEA, a partnership between Southwire and Carrollton High School, focuses on STEM subjects and provides hands-on experience for students to work with our teams on value-added problem-solving projects, data analysis, value stream mapping and more. We aspire to expand the Southwire Engineering Academy to other regional locations in North America by the end of 2020.
Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence and Skilled for Life
The Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence at West Georgia Technical College imparts manufacturing and maintenance skills to students and serves as the inspiration for Southwire’s Skilled for Life program in our Machine Services Group (MSG). Through the Skilled for Life program, students work for MSG and gain invaluable industry experience. The Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence also helps some participants attain their GED to work for our company.
Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program
The Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program, a partnership with the University of West Georgia, seeks to boost the number of candidates with sustainability backgrounds for high-level executive positions. The academic portion of the program combines business and sustainability learning. In just four years, participants can obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, along with a certificate of sustainability. Additionally, to provide hands-on experience, Southwire pairs participants with product managers and division presidents through internships or special projects.
Southwire contributes approximately $1.1 million to the partnership, supplemented by up to 40 percent of Southwire program management’s time (during the heart of the semester). In 2016, the first student graduated from the program, and we aspire to graduate the remainder of the first cohort by the end of 2017.
Southwire fosters dialogue with the community though our Community Advisory Panel. This panel includes five members from a cross-section of the Carrollton community who gather to discuss a variety of issues—particularly environmental ones—that may pertain to Southwire and our effect on the community.
We see additional strategic opportunity for Southwire and our employees in developing a signature environmental program. Today, there is limited engagement and awareness about environmental issues facing communities where Southwire operates. We aim to engage employees at work and in our communities, target areas of community impact and integrate environmental stewardship into our interactions in the community.
In 2016, we set a new goal for community involvement. We will begin reporting progress on this goal in our 2017 sustainability report.
2021 SUSTAINABILITY GOALS & TARGETS
- Launch environmental outreach programs in 100% of the communities in which we operate.
Southwire aims to advance and improve educational opportunities and outcomes by working with various state and local educational institutions to achieve the following: