12 for Life


Building Better Lives through Education, Employment and Opportunity

Prior to 2007, the opening year of our signature 12 for Life program, Carroll County’s high school graduation rate hovered at 64 percent, meaning one of three students starting the first grade that year would not go on to graduate from high school. Since Southwire’s employment opportunities require candidates with either a diploma or GED, Southwire devised strategies to reverse this trend in collaboration 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, emphasizing that education opens doors to success. The 12 for Life 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. We are proud to report that all five high schools in the Carroll County School system achieved a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher and a total district graduation rate of 91.35 percent.

 Since the program’s inception, our partnership expanded to include the Florence Schools in Alabama, and other companies have replicated the 12 for Life program model. For example, Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. collaborated with the Richmond County School System on the Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program. The state of Georgia and the White House also adopted 12 for Life as a model for increasing graduation rates.

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