Leggett and Platt works with students for excellence

Published 11:50 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

The first job a high school student lands often isn’t looked back on fondly, but the Winchester branch of Leggett and Platt is looking to change that for some students.

Leggett and Platt is a Fortune 500 company with more than 20,000 employees working in more than 19 countries. The company manufactures steel materials for residential, commercial and industrial uses, with its Winchester plant focussed on residential items like bed springs.

L&P representative Russell Allen said the company has been noticing shortages similar to what industrial companies across America are seeing: a lack of qualified applicants with the so called “soft skills” to keep a business running efficiently.

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Allen and others at the company decided to do something to correct the issue. For the second year in a row, L&P has partnered with the Clark County Area Technology Center to offer students a mentorship program.

Through the program, qualifying high school students can get help from L&P employees in building a resume, applying for a job with the company, doing an interview and, if hired, working for the


company on a part-time basis making $11 an hour.

Last year the company partnered with three students, all of whom were offered full-time employment after graduation. This year, Allen said seven students are currently working at the plant, and he is trying to get a total of 10 for this school year.

The students can’t operate machinery in pant unsupervised, so they are paired with older members of the workforce and assist them while learning elements of the job.

Allen said the goal of the program isn’t just to get students to pick a career at Leggett and Platt, but to give them a positive first job experience and help them find their feet when they go out into the world.

In addition, he said the company will work with students to give them full-time employment while they take college courses at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. If the program continues to expand more educational institutes will be added.

“We know not all of these students want to work at Leggett and Platt for their career,” Allen said. “But we’d rather have a highly motivated individual who’s passionate about something work for us as long as we can keep them than someone we don’t know anything about who may only be here six months.”

As manufacturing becomes more and more technically driven, it is in the company’s best interest to help local individuals find opportunities to get technical degrees, because they may someday have a job back at Leggett and Platt working to maintain sophisticated equipment, he said.

The work program isn’t the only way Leggett and Platt is working to give back to the community. Allen and others from the company also regularly volunteer at other schools, like Justice Elementary and Robert D. Campbell Junior High to interact with and mentor students. Allen said, for him, it is a way to give back to his community.

“I’m getting near the end of my career,” he said. “It’s good for me to be able to give something back to my community. As my branch manager Chuck Denisio said, ’It’s just the right thing to do.’”