Southwire's 12 for Life Program Recognized with HIRE Award

Nov 5, 2013

Highlighting the company’s efforts through its 12 for Life program to encourage students to complete high school, Innovate Educate and U.S. News and World Report will present Southwire Company with a HIRE Award.

In their first year, the HIRE Awards recognize employers across the country that use innovative hiring and training process to close the skills gap. Chosen by a panel of judges from groups committed to building a strong national workforce, the winning companies focused on those often overlooked by traditional hiring practices. Promoting a diverse, work-ready pipeline of talent also was key.

“Many of the companies that applied are doing great work in seeking new ways to hire, and our goal for this award is to continue to challenge companies to rise to a new level in employing talent in unique and innovative ways,” said Jamai Bivin, founder and CEO of Innovate+Educate.

“The traditional hiring methods that assumed a skilled workforce was readily available no longer work. Companies must take an active role in preparing workers,” said Mike Wiggins, a Southwire executive vice president and a founder of 12 for Life. “As we do that, we provide encouragement and resources that allow students to earn diplomas as they build better lives.”

12 for Life is a cooperative education partnership between Southwire and the Carroll County (Georgia) Schools and the Florence (Alabama) City Schools that helps students gain extra motivation to finish 12 years of school. By providing students with classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring and employment opportunities, the program encourages them stay in school, graduate, and become successful, productive members of the workforce. Students work in actual Southwire manufacturing plants designed just for them. There, they produce real products for real customers.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs adopted 12 for Life as a model for part of its Great Promise Partnership. Other companies have established 12 for Life programs of their own. The White House has highlighted 12 for Life as a model for workforce development programs. More than 635 students have graduated from the program since it began in 2007.

The HIRE Awards will be presented during the Close It Summit planned for Nov. 5-7 in Washington D.C. Other winners include AmeriHealth Caritas, Bank of America, Boeing and Gilchrist Construction Company.

- Gary Leftwich