Industry: Construction & Manufacturing Business Need: Diversity, Goodwill & Community, Onboarding & Training, Retention & Productivity

Wire and cable manufacturer Southwire Company’s dedication to improving the education and skill level of their employees led to the creation of 12 for Life, a program to help at risk young adults graduate from high school and make successful transitions to work and postsecondary education.

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"With a growing challenge of finding skilled talent, we developed the 12 for Life program to create a pipeline of future employees for our company and have seen a strong return on investment - young people are completing high school, they are entering skilled positions at our company and others, and our businesses are thriving."
Stu Thorn, President and CEO


Southwire has always been committed to improving the communities¬†in which it operates, having been on the leading edge of education initiatives for decades. With high school dropout rates nearing 30 percent around Southwire’s western Georgia facilities, the company partnered with the local school system to determine how they could help.


In partnership with the school system, Southwire launched 12 for Life, a program that lets students combine their studies with practical real-world experience at a customized Southwire manufacturing facility. While at risk students find a pathway to success and graduation, Southwire is able to fill its talent needs.


  • Continued tradition of giving back to the community and increasing a quality workforce
  • Increase in trained, motivated workforce
  • 15¬†percent of graduates have been hired as full-time employees and 39 percent have gone onto postsecondary education
  • Increased revenue and productivity from the experience-learning plant


Source: Employment Pathways Project. Updated original Southwire Company Success Story produced by Corporate Voices for Working Families. 2014.

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