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12 Florence High School seniors offered full-time apprenticeships at Southwire

FLORENCE, Ala. — Excitement filled the air in the Florence High School (FHS) Media Center Thursday morning as school system staff and Southwire representatives celebrated the inaugural 12 For Life Signing Day. 

Southwire is one of North America's largest wire and cable producers. Florence City Schools Career Technology and Education (CTE) Director Layne Rinks said Southwire began the 12 for Life program for the local school system near its headquarters in Carrollton, Georgia. 12 for Life was founded there as a dropout prevention program to improve the local workforce by offering on-the-job training to high school students.

As the years passed, the program expanded and evolved from dropout prevention into a career pathway for students.

12 seniors from 12 For Life received full-time apprenticeship employment offers from Southwire. The opportunity marks a significant transition for the students into promising career paths accompanied by competitive salaries and benefits.

FCS Partnerships and Workforce Innovation Director Dr. Corey Behel said the event aims to recognize the dedication and hard work of the participating seniors while also showcasing the potential for future career success for all students involved.

"This has been a catalyst for this outcome in terms of the training that they've been through with the 12 for Life program, and then the workforce industry credentials that they've been able to obtain through our partnership with Northwest Shoals Community College," Behel said. "All of it together has just blended in and just maximized our student's functioning potential."

Stefanie Anderson is a specialist with Southwire's Giving Back Program, of which 12 for Life is a part. Other programs under the Giving Back umbrella include Project Gift, which focuses on volunteering and community support, and the Power Fund, which offers short-term assistance to Southwire team members experiencing life struggles. She said that 12 for Life is a different animal entirely.

"Both locations started with the goal of increasing the graduation rate, and we've achieved that mission," Anderson said. "Now, it's not just getting students to the finish line; it's building their tool belt—what other life skills, and what other certifications, what other opportunities can we provide them with? We're getting them to graduate, and we're getting them their high school diploma, but what are the other opportunities?"

Anderson said that in 12 for Life, Southwire strives for the three E's, "we want them either employed, either at Southwire or elsewhere, we want them continuing their higher education, or we want them to consider enlisting in the United States military."

Thursday's 12 for Life student signees:

•Adair Ambrosio

•Ladarius Bray

•Brianna Cox

•Jose Flores

•Benjamin Gean

•Nate Graves

•Michael Jackson

•Elija Jordan-Watson

•Caden Ledbetter

•Alora McCullock

•Montayvious Shelby

•Jacori Swafford

By Jeremy Jackson
May 2, 2024