Beaulieu recognized for efforts to keep Dalton area kids focused on high school graduation
Beaulieu, a leading floor covering manufacturer headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, has a long history of supporting education throughout northwest Georgia, which is home to 13 of its plants.
In addition, the company encourages its team members to develop creative solutions both inside and outside of their plants.
So four years ago, Angie Ledford, talent development coordinator at Beaulieu, came up with an idea that met both goals. She approached her management team with her idea of filling up some open positions at the company with high school students who were in jeopardy of not graduating.
“This was not a hard sell to our team. I had people raising their hands asking how they could help,” she said. For Beaulieu, the reward was twofold: The company could help students stay in school while giving them a job in the afternoon. In addition, Beaulieu could fill multiple job openings while building their team member pipeline for the future.
The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership is recognizing the Beaulieu team and its efforts as the April recipient of the Faces of Manufacturing Award. Beaulieu employees were presented with the award on April 19.
The Faces of Manufacturing initiative highlights Georgia's manufacturing industry, which employs 365,000 and is an important sector of the state economy. The Faces of Manufacturing shows that companies have an economic impact not only on the communities they serve but also on the lives of the people they touch, from employees to customers.
Beaulieu reached out to the Great Promise Partnership (GPP), an initiative to help at-risk students complete their high school education while gaining real-world job skills, to work with students and high schools in Dalton and surrounding Whitfield County. The Beaulieu initiative, now in its third year and with 20 students participating, has been a success. It’s also making a substantial difference in the lives of those students.
“Last year, we had a student miss 30 days of school in just one semester,” said Sheila McKeehan, a school counselor at Morris Innovative High School in Dalton. “Since getting involved in this program, this student has missed just three days. We’ve had such success with the program that we have kids lining up to be involved.”
But beyond the job skills learned and commitment to graduating, the students say they have experienced profound personal growth and development.
“Before working here, I thought manufacturing was people working by themselves,” said Kyle, one of the students in the program. “Instead, it’s about people working together to create products. I’ve learned teamwork, responsibility, and how to communicate with others.”
— Péralte C. Paul