Southwire's 12 for Life - Motivating Students to Stay in School

The Problem

At 12 for Life, our students benefit from a combination of classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and real work and life skills that employers demand – and that students will need to be successful after graduation.

In-Demand Job Skills

While performing manufacturing and support tasks, 12 for Life students also have the opportunity to learn other crucial workplace skills:

  • Shipping
  • Quality Assurance
  • Data Entry
  • Record-keeping
  • Leadership
  • Responsibility
  • Teamwork
  • Communication

Students also gain valuable insights into career and life skills to help them navigate life post-graduation. Through on-site workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and instruction, 12 for Life students learn about:

  • Career opportunities at Southwire through tours of other Southwire plants
  • Interviewing skills
  • Resume building
  • Job searching
  • Other life skills

One of the things we’ve learned at 12 for Life is that our program needs to be dynamic to meet the emerging needs of our students—whatever they may be. For example, when some of our students earned their first paycheck, they were startled to learn they wouldn’t actually take home all they’d earned—they’d never learned about income taxes.

Seeing an opportunity for the students to gain additional life skills, Southwire coordinated a seminar with a local bank, which helped the students understand what everything on their pay-stubs meant, from taxes and FICA deductions to sick and vacation leave. Proof that our student-focused approach is working? In 2008, 15 percent of our students filed taxes for themselves!

Instilling a Strong Work Ethic

Employers regularly identify work ethic as an increasingly important part of worker success, yet many express concern that a strong work ethic is increasingly difficult to find among employees and job applicants. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 80 percent of workers who lose their jobs do so not because of lack of occupational skills, but because of poor work ethics. At 12 for Life, students get training on 10 work ethic traits:

  1. Attendance
  2. Character
  3. Teamwork
  4. Appearance
  5. Attitude
  6. Productivity
  7. Organizational Skills
  8. Communication
  9. Cooperation
  10. Respect

This work ethic focus translates into three distinct areas of success:

  • Students begin employment with positive work ethics skills
  • Instructors develop more motivated and attentive students – a boon when it comes to college
  • Employers acquire employees with desirable work habits
Dropping the Dropout Rate

We are actively reversing the dropout trend in Georgia. We've graduated 275 students in our first four years, far exceeding our goal of 175 High School Graduates by 2012. Learn more +

12 for Life Skills for Life

12 For Life is not a Vocational/Technical program. We focus on students rather than specific skills to ensure individuals have the work and life skills they need to succeed.
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12 for Life Skills for Life

Schools and private businesses committed to education & community can build sustainable programs. Doing the right thing pays for itself.
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A Paycheck and a Diploma

Students can succeed at School and Work without the compromise. Our students stay in school, earn money, and learn the skills employers look for.  Learn more +


Southwire Giving Back

Since the 1950's, Southwire has emphasized giving back to the community. 12 for Life is a natural extension of our outreach to improve our community.
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Getting Involved

12 for Life is a successful model for other businesses and schools. Find out how to improve graduation rates and impact long-term earning capacity for your entire community.
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