A $200,000 grant for SOWELA - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

A $200,000 grant for SOWELA

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's been a big week in the local aviation industry.

Aeroframe is out and AAR is in with the promise of new jobs. Now, SOWELA is getting new funding to train those new workers.      

The news of a $200,000 grant comes less than a week after Gov. Bobby Jindal announced the creation of hundreds of new aviation maintenance jobs in Lake Charles with AAR.

Dr. Rick Bateman, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at SOWELA, said, "I think everyone is aware of the recent changes to the aviation industry here in Lake Charles, and certainly the arrival of AAR Corporation helped to ignite this. But it was a collaborative effort over the last couple of weeks between the Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and our chancellor, Dr. Aspinwall. And what these resources are going to do will allow us to bring more students into the pipeline and allow us to be a better trainer of aviation technicians and meet the workforce needs of SWLA."

Both school officials and potential students are happy about the grant. They are both excited to see what changes it will bring to the aviation program and the college as a whole.  

SOWELA applicant Dillion Kirl said, "I believe it's a chance for the aviation program itself to expand and to grow. Also, to get more college students in, get them graduated, and get them out there in the aviation field. It's not only the aviation program, but it can expand and help out in other parts of the college as well."

As of right now, the money is anticipated to go toward hangar maintenance, hiring new teachers and obtaining new training equipment in an effort to improve the overall quality of education.

An official meeting will be held Friday to discuss how exactly the money should be spent.

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