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Developing our future workforce.

Taking a lifelong approach to learning, Shaw has created community educational partnerships from reading to robotics, kindergarten to college. These partnerships are supporting our development of the workforce of tomorrow, while helping foster economic development in the communities in which we operate.

2017 Sustainability Report

The 2017 Sustainability Report marks a pivotal year in the company’s comprehensive approach to sustainability.

View 2017 Sustainability Report
  • Readers 2 Leaders

    Building the future’s leaders – one book at a time.

    A Shaw-supported initiative that prepares residents for the workforce through literacy and school success.

    Shaw is an active supporter of Readers 2 Leaders (R2L), a community-wide initiative in the city of Dalton, Ga. and Whitfield County that prepares residents for the workforce through literacy and school success. Recognizing the critical role that literacy and reading comprehension play in graduation rates and long-term success, R2L began in July 2012 with the goal of having all third-grade students in city and county schools reading and comprehending on grade level in all subject areas by 2020. The R2L partnership includes the local school and library systems, local industries such as Shaw, nonprofits, funders, business leaders, city and county government, area colleges, and religious organizations.

  • Hour of Code

    Teaching coding skills to local elementary students.

    A one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

    What began as a parent volunteer’s desire to bring computer science to elementary school students turned into a grassroots campaign to bring awareness to the importance of computer science to the Dalton, Ga. community. Through Code.org, a non-profit organization striving to make computer programming more accessible to schools, and its Hour of Code program, David Snyder, a lead systems engineer at Shaw Industries, partnered with his child’s elementary school to put programming in student hands.

    According to Code.org, more than 30 percent of jobs will be in the computer science field by 2020. Coding activities have also proven valuable in increasing reading comprehension and the ability to follow directions. The Hour of Code proved to be a success with students and teachers and ultimately served as a springboard for a community-wide effort to increase awareness about the computer science movement. Since Snyder’s initial introduction of Hour of Code, Dalton Public Schools has expanded the program from the elementary level to the entire pre-k through 12th grade continuum. The school system is also forming partnerships with other organizations to offer explorations in robotics, film, 3-D printing, circuitry, coding, entrepreneurship, design, illustration, 3-D animation, motion, and design thinking. Through partnerships with local businesses like Shaw, students in Dalton can expand their knowledge and skills, and make real-world connections.

  • Camp DEM

    Exposing middle school students to STEM careers in the flooring industry.

    An annual STEM-focused summer camp that exposes middle school students to career opportunities in manufacturing through hands-on learning and doing.

    In partnership with the local Dalton, Ga. community and other business leaders, Shaw Industries helped develop and implement a week-long, STEM-focused summer camp for middle school students. Called Camp D.E.M. (Design, Engineering & Manufacturing), the program is aimed at educating students about career opportunities in manufacturing, providing them with hands-on experience in design, engineering and manufacturing, and coaching them on effective team building and critical thinking skills. The experience includes rapid prototyping, electronics, laser integrated design, robotics, energy, and carpet design. The camp, which is free for students thanks to corporate sponsorships from Shaw and others, hosted 29 students in its first year. Each year the camp grows in size, and, to date, more than 450 campers have participated in the program.

  • FIRST Robotics and FIRST Tech

    Fostering innovation and cultivating the workforce of tomorrow.

    Fostering innovation to create a better future for the communities in which it operates

    In 2013, Shaw expanded its extensive educational partnership program to include FIRST®, an international organization started by Segway inventor, Dean Kamen, that aims to inspire young people to participate in science and technology. Through its programs, FIRST® Robotics and FIRST® Tech, students from northwest Georgia middle and high schools have had the opportunity to build science, engineering, and technology skills that also foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership. FIRST has proved to be a perfect fit for Shaw as the company has long supported programs from reading to robotics to help cultivate the workforce of the future. In addition to Shaw’s participation as a sponsor of the local FIRST teams, Shaw associates have contributed personal time and resources, serving as mentors to the students throughout the school year. 

  • Great Promise Partnership

    Helping students find their future.

    Helps high school students earn their diplomas through paid, on-the-job training while emphasizing real-world skills, mentoring and goal setting.

    Great Promise Partnership™ (GPP) is a program, designed cooperatively by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and numerous public and private sector leaders, including Shaw Industries, that works with high school age, at-risk youth, with the promise that if they continue their education, they will be supported in their efforts to prepare for further education, military service or the workforce after graduation. The program allows teens 16 and older to spend part of the day at school and part of the day at the job site. There, they benefit from on-the-job training at real entry-level jobs, mentoring, life and career skill sessions and service learning projects. Students may also earn pay raises based on job and academic performance, attendance and behavior.

    Shaw joined as a Great Promise Partnership employer in the fall of 2015 with students from Dalton, Georgia’s Morris Innovative High School. For the entire school year, the students worked in Shaw’s samples operation at Plant 52 where they learned on the job skills and were mentored by Shaw associates. Shaw looks forward to continuing its participation in the program and values the opportunity to expose students to the manufacturing industry as a viable option post-graduation. 

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Business Academy

    Developing the next generation of advanced manufacturing talent.

    Preparing students for a progressive career in the manufacturing industry

    The Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy's Advanced Manufacturing and Business Academy (AMBA) is a curriculum designed to prepare students for a progressive career in the manufacturing industry.  Through the program, high school students gain foundational knowledge that allows them to achieve both required certifications and college credits that will accelerate entry into the various manufacturing career opportunities – immediately after high school or after pursuing further education at a technical college or four-year university. The AMBA offers three paths of interest: manufacturing, logistics/supply chain and corporate administration.

    Since AMBA's inception, Shaw has been closely involved with the development and success of the program, providing resources and support across all facets of the Academy, including mentorship, staff and faculty development, and teaching. As a part of its engagement with AMBA, Shaw is also one of four partner companies participating in its apprenticeship program, which provides students in their junior and senior years with practical and applicable training and education in advanced manufacturing with regional manufacturers and suppliers in the industry.  The paid apprenticeship program provides training and development in manufacturing principles and processes, on-the-job experience in entry level manufacturing and support jobs and roles, potential for full-time summer employment, opportunity for professional certifications, and coaching and mentoring from manufacturing management and leadership. 

  • Mechatronics Pathway

    Creating new avenues and opportunities for STEM education.

    Partnership with local College and Career Academy helps to ensure next generation has necessary skills to compete in the 21st century global economy.

    In the fall of 2012, Shaw Industries and the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy (NWGCCA) took the lead in creating a Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) curriculum for Mechatronics. The initiative was taken in response to Dalton, Ga., the home of Shaw’s headquarters, having one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation despite the local industry having many unfilled positions for industrial systems due to un-qualified applicants. With a team of engineers and community members, the curriculum was written and submitted to GADOE for approval. After months of review, the curriculum was approved, and Shaw Industries, in partnership with Whitfield County Schools, worked to create a Mechatronics lab for students in 2013-2014 school year.

    The program continues today with students completing the program with skills to continue study at Georgia Northwestern Technical College in the Industrial Systems Program or with a solid foundation in theory and skills to pursue an engineering degree. 

  • Fast Track Innovation Program

    Ensuring growth amidst an ever-changing marketplace.

    Community partnership spurs job creation in Northwest Georgia

    In 2013, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD), in partnership with Shaw and other carpet industry leaders across Northwest Georgia, launched the Fast Track Innovation Program to provide individuals with technical skills for employment in the industry. 

    In coordination with the Northwest Regional Commission and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC), the partner companies (including Shaw) select qualified individuals in the local area to participate in a 10-week training, preparing them to fill entry-level industrial maintenance jobs in the industry. Through classroom teaching, computer-based learning and lab instruction at GNTC, participants end the program course equipped with the mechanical, electrical and maintenance skills to perform the jobs successfully and help these companies continue to grow in Georgia. 

  • STEM After-School Program

    Inspiring and empowering young girls to pursue careers in manufacturing.

    STEM After-School Program

    Shaw Women's Innovation Network inspires and empowers young girls to pursue careers in manufacturing.

    In partnership with City Park Elementary School, located in Dalton, Ga., Shaw has designed a comprehensive STEM after-school program created to build confidence, encourage creative thinking and problem solving and empower young girls to consider the wide range of careers available to them. In an effort to remove barriers to pursuing historically male-dominated fields, Shaw is working to increase accessibility to knowledge and skills while sharing the range of roles available to girls throughout the manufacturing industry.
    The semester-long class includes ten rising fourth graders and 21 rising fifth graders who are currently enrolled in the school’s free/reduced lunch program. The inspiring collaboration positions members of Shaw’s Women in Leadership (WiN) program and the company’s co-op students as ongoing mentors and leaders during the after-school program. 
    Throughout the program, each student will learn about Shaw facilities as they explore a range of career opportunities in areas such as engineering, design, marketing, tech, analysis and IT. To conclude the program, the students present a finished project or presentation to members of the Shaw WiN group, Dalton Public School board members, parents and Dalton Middle and High School administrators. 
    The elementary school partnership complements Shaw’s existing middle school programs, creating a more fully developed STEM education pipeline from kindergarten to college.