Southwire Kicks Off Celebrate Diversity Month with Investments in Education


Reinforcing Southwire’s commitment to fostering a community of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, the company is proud to announce partnerships with the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) and Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) to offer expanded opportunities for educational advancement to black and women students. 

Beyond these new partnerships, Southwire’s investments in diversity, equity and inclusion continue. In 2020, the company contributed $150,000 to external partners that drive these efforts forward. In 2021, Southwire plans to accelerate its efforts and build new partnerships that support its goals and will contribute over $300,000 to organizations that represent inclusive values, including companies like The Wounded Warrior Project, The Arc, NAACP, Chris 180, Catalyst, Inclusion Matters, Women in Manufacturing, the Affordable Housing Project and many others.

“At Southwire, it is our commitment to foster an environment that recognizes the value and talent of diverse perspectives and backgrounds, regardless of gender and ethnicity. But it goes beyond that,” said Fernando Esquivel, Southwire’s EVP of HR. “Being a Hispanic myself, I have personally experienced the meaning of inclusiveness, and know why it is so important for organizations to welcome and encourage diverse backgrounds. By diversifying our organization through its people and the companies we partner with, Southwire is enabling talent and diverse thought to flourish, which encourages all our employees to reach their highest potential and makes Southwire a better place for all its stakeholders.”

The partnership with the AUCC will focus on offering experiential educational opportunities and scholarships to the students of the consortium's dual degree engineering program. From supplying student internships and scholarships, to being a pipeline for opportunities to work at Southwire after graduation, students within the AUCC’s engineering program will have many opportunities to advance their careers in the electrical industry through this opportunity.

The AUCC’s dual-degree engineering program was established in 1969 to increase the number of African Americans and women in engineering. Students in the program spend three years at one of the AUCC’s historically black colleges and universities and then transition to one of their 11 partner engineering universities for an additional two years. Ultimately, students in the program earn two bachelor’s degrees from each of the institutions.

“This is a continuation of our mission and who we are as a community of educators and thinkers,” says Said Sewell, Ph.D., director of academics, research and student success at the AUCC. “We hope that these students really take advantage of this opportunity and will be able to take their theoretical experiences in the classroom and apply them in the real world at Southwire.”

When asked why it is important for companies like Southwire to invest in diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Beverly James, director of communications, marketing and events at the AUCC says that the importance cannot be stressed enough. 

“I really applaud Southwire for recognizing that there are so many people of color who can contribute to these companies, and for reaching out to the AUCC to create that pipeline for these students,” said James. “It’s not about one group of people being able to offer the talent that you need, it’s about using the talent around you. By reaching out to our organization and making the first move in this partnership, Southwire is setting a standard for diversity and inclusion in education that I hope will encourage other corporations to do the same.”

To celebrate, representatives from both companies met virtually to commemorate the successful signing of this partnership and share sentiments about their excitement and expectations for the future. 


AUCC Representatives Pictured Above: Said Sewell, Ph.D., Michael Hodge Ph.D., Christopher Ellis, Ph.D. and Beverly James. 

Southwire Representatives Pictured Above: Fernando Esquivel, Rachel Lawson, Torri Logan and Paige Bird.

Southwire will select the scholarship winners for its partnership with the AUCC in April and plans to begin offering internships in the Fall 2021 semester. 

Additionally, Southwire Canada’s partnership with EFC will focus on providing two $3,500 scholarships for post-secondary students interested in pursuing a career in the electrical industry.

EFC is a national nonprofit industry association in Canada that represents manufacturers, distributors and manufacturing representatives who sell a wide range of electrical products, contributing more than $10 billion to the Canadian economy. EFC empowers the industry with market intelligence, professional development and acts as a voice for advocacy and standards advancement within a safe, collaborative environment. The organization and its members are proud to support the next generation of leaders who will power a changing world in the Canadian electrical industry through their annual Scholarship Program. 

Over $130,000 across 52 scholarships will be awarded to support students who are pursuing a career in electrical engineering, electrical technologist/technician, industrial distribution, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, supply chain operations, logistics, data analytics management and information technology. This year, Southwire Canada will sponsor the following scholarships: the Southwire Empowering Women in Academic Excellence Award and the Southwire Academic Achievement Award for Black Students.


“The EFC uses its scholarship program to increase brand awareness around B2B and attract more talent to the electrical industry,” said Maria Sial, Southwire Canada’s communications and digital strategy manager. “By providing opportunities like this, our organization is showcasing its commitment to being an open, inclusive and diversified place to work. Representation for women and people of color in the electrical industry is not where it should be, so we are committed to make sure that these groups are equitably represented in Canada’s electrical industry.”

The deadline for the EFC scholarships is May 31, 2021, and Southwire Canada will choose the recipients in the Fall of 2021.

To learn more about Southwire’s commitment to fostering a community of diversity, inclusivity and empowerment in the workplace, visit