Southwire’s success relies on thriving communities, so we continuously work to listen to, learn from and collaborate with the communities in which we operate. By providing educational opportunities, Southwire enhances employment prospects for community residents while identifying a future talent pool for our company. Roy Richards Sr., Southwire’s founder, was instrumental in establishing this culture, which we bolster through several collaborative programs.
Community Advisory Panel
Southwire stimulates 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.
12 for Life®
Southwire set a long-term goal to increase graduation rates among at-risk teenagers through 12 for Life® by graduating 2020 students from the program by year-end 2020.
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 our manufacturing plants. Students earn wages for their work and, most importantly, learn skills they will need after graduation.
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. In 2015, Southwire provided 4,977 training hours to students in this program. 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 Machinery 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 in order 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, Southwire pairs participants with product managers and division presidents in order for them to receive hands-on experience.
Southwire’s contribution includes up to 40 percent of the Southwire program management’s time (during the heart of the semester) and approximately $1.1 million to the partnership. We aspire to graduate the first class from the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors program by the end of 2018.
Southwire aims to advance and improve educational opportunities and outcomes by working with various state and local educational institutions to achieve the following:
|Goals||2014 Baseline||2014 Status||Goal (year)|
|12 for Life Graduates||851
|892 (December 2014)||2020
|Southwire Engineering Academy Locations||1||1||>1 (2020)|
|Cohorts Graduating from Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program||0||0||1 (2018)|
In addition to our long-term goals, Southwire tracks the number of participants or graduates for each program. In 2015, our programs benefited the following:
- Southwire Engineering Academy: 90 participants / 70 graduates
- Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence: 146 participants / 39 maintenance certifications
- Skilled for Life: 4 participants