When Carter Waye graduated from high school in 2021, he had a few things on his mind. First, was his education. He knew he wanted to attend Miami University in Ohio, but he also wanted to be smart about student loan debt. Secondly, he didn’t want to wait to get hands-on, real-world experience. He knew he wanted to end up in a people-facing role that gave him the opportunity to lead a team.
Carter started having conversations with his school’s counselor and eventually found the Work+ program through Miami University’s regional campuses. The program hires students for entry-level positions with partner employers who provide an hourly wage and pay for the student’s tuition. Carter was admitted to the program and paired with Worthington Steel (formerly, Worthington Industries) in September 2021 and was hired at our Monroe, Ohio, facility.
When he first walked into the Monroe facility, he said he was immediately struck by the sheer volume of steel coils and all the cranes moving throughout the facility. He didn’t let that intimidate him – it made him want to learn more.
Carter quickly found his place after starting on the packaging line at 20 hours per week. He then moved to the 60-inch slitter and began a new role as an operations management trainee. This role allowed him to grow closer to his colleagues while seeing every aspect of the facility.
“I’ve seen the business from the start – from receiving where coils are coming in – all the way down to how they’re being shipped out,” Carter said.
As Carter approaches a year in his operations management trainee role, he’s done a lot of growing and gained valuable skills to take with him. Treating people how we want to be treated is an important part of our Philosophy – Carter experienced this firsthand while managing his team and says it’s been the most impactful part of his role.
“I’ve been faced with hard decisions to make in my role, but having a relationship with people out on the floor has taught me a lot,” he recalls. “I’ve been able to self-reflect and find who I want to be in the industry, and who I want to be as a manager."
I’ve had a really good experience coming from the start of the program. Worthington is very family-oriented in terms of culture, so I never had any conflicts with school and my classes.
Now, Carter has graduated from Miami University in January 2024 with his associate’s degree and is working full-time at Worthington Steel. He’s come a long way from his high school graduation, and his fears of not having enough experience don’t feel as big anymore.
“Coming out of school, it can be hard to have your plan for the future. So, working at Worthington has really helped me find myself in that light,” he said. “I know who I want to be, how I want to lead a team and how I want to interact with other people."
Carter’s decision to work while continuing his education has helped him gain real life experience out of college and solidified his passion for leadership – and he wants others who are facing similar decisions to know that there are options for the future.
While acknowledging that college is one option, Carter said, “Just be open to other paths. I think a lot of people are scared to take that jump and work, but I would just say, don’t be scared to do something different. I’m glad I was open to other paths."