Carrollton, GA – November 8, 2019: On Nov. 7, Southwire’s 12 for Life facility received the Presidents’ Award by the Georgia Safety Health and Environmental Conference (Georgia Conference) and the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP).
Founded in 1994, the Georgia Conference is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the best practices for safety, health and the environment with organizations throughout the state. This year’s conference, which was in partnership with the ASSP, was originally scheduled to occur in September, but the event was cancelled due to inclement weather.
In response, representatives from both organizations came to 12 for Life to present the award. They also invited local Southwire employees, school representatives, community members and students from 12 for Life to attend the ceremony.
“The Presidents’ Award is our highest award that represents safety and personal protection for employees, and it is given to the person or facility that best exemplifies these qualities,” said Blake Alston, advisory board member of the Georgia Conference. “Southwire’s influence is not confined to its facilities; it goes way beyond into the community, local families and more.”
12 for Life, which began in 2007, partners with local schools and serves the community by providing an opportunity, education and employment for at-risk youth. This program combines traditional classroom instruction with Southwire manufacturing jobs, where students can earn wages for their work while learning valuable skills. This results in employable, educated young people prepared to enter the workforce. Since 12 for Life began, the graduation rate has risen from 65 percent to more than 90 percent in the Carroll County School System alone.
Stanley Reid, corporate safety manager at NCI Building Systems and former president of the ASSP Georgia Chapter, said that the 12 for Life program has helped the youth tremendously within its community.
“12 for Life is a life-changing opportunity for many students in this community. It provides growth, hope, structure, teamwork, work ethic, education and safety,” said Reid. “Southwire recognized a need in this community and decided to help. Because of Southwire, these students here today will have a better opportunity for their future education and life.”
Alex Shewbirt, manager of employee experience and former 12 for Life safety specialist, explained that the students at 12 for Life best understood safety from a more creative approach, and she quickly learned that writing safety rules on the board was not the best way to get the students’ attention. Instead, she started drawing fictional characters on the board and had the characters “say” the safety rules.
“The safety board became a way for us to communicate with students in a more fun, collaborative and innovative way,” Shewbirt said. “It truly became a supportive addition to the great safety initiatives and campaigns that Southwire already has.”
Since the implementation of presenting safety to the students through drawings, 12 for Life employees have recognized a notable change in their workplace and a newfound interest in safety. It has even introduced some students to a connection with art and an interest in pursuing art as a potential career choice after graduation.
“I am so thankful to work for a company that allows me to be creative,” Shewbirt said. “It lets me to think outside of the box, and not every company will let you do that. This just shows that creative expression is important and should be valued.”
To learn more about Southwire’s commitment to safety and Giving Back, visit the company’s sustainability report at http://southwiresustainability.com.