Marshall Co. based company Progress Rail started a mentor program for high schools aimed at graduation

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. -- A Marshall County based company has started up a mentor program for students at Brindlee Mountain High School, with sights on graduation. The plan is to expand the program to more schools across the county.

Wednesday morning, a group of Brindlee Mountain High School students gathered at the Progress Rail complex. The event was the culmination of the start of something new.

"Project Graduation is a program that came about  two years ago after meeting with Steve Marshall, who was our District Attorney, and we were talking about ways that we could give back to the community and he brought up that high school graduation rates were really the biggest issue that he saw facing the county," explained Progress Rail Senior Vice President John Newman.

So the company started Project Graduation. The pilot program started with Brindlee Mountain High School.

"There's a mentoring component where they each have one of our employees who's meeting with them at least monthly, they're going through the training program, our leadership training and leadership development programs, and they're also doing tours," Newman said.  The program runs over a course of several months.

The goal is to instill a spark and show a path to the future.

"I'll definitely take into consideration the things that I've learned to help me decide what career I'll be, and I think that I've become a more effective teenager, and definitely know the importance of graduating high school," said student Alyssa Swafford.

Next year Progress Rail expects to expand the program to more schools in the county. The company also does Project Literacy for younger children in schools across Marshall County.