The following is a news release from SOWELA Technical Community College:
SOWELA Technical Community College enrolled over 3,300 students for its fall 2013 semester. This is the highest enrollment for the College in its 75-year history.
"We've seen enrollment increase by 21 percent from fall of 2012," said Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Chancellor. "The expansions in the petrochemical and aviation areas combined with the prospect of good paying jobs along with stronger partnerships with McNeese State University have helped position SOWELA as a viable and strong option for higher education training. People in the region appreciate the fact that the college experience at SOWELA is especially valuable and marketable."
Programs showing substantial growth for the fall semester include process technology, practical nursing and industrial instrumentation. With the influx of new faculty in the aviation technology program and the increased needs for workers at Northrop Grumman, AAR and ERA, the aviation program is expected to be one of the many growth programs next year.
"We have streamlined our admissions and registration process to provide a seamless and integrated student services experience that will provide single point access for enrollment, registration, financial aid, and billing," said Andre Farley, Executive Director of Enrollment Management. "We have adjusted our hours so that people getting off work can register at times convenient to them." Also contributing to SOWELA's growth is its successful high school dual enrollment program.
SOWELA's non-credit enrollment is also up with specialties in welding, machining and pipefitting being especially popular. "The market demands for skilled workers is acute," said Dr. Joseph Fleishman, Vice Chancellor of Economic and Workforce Development. "We are partnering with business and industry in Lake Charles and Jennings to make sure we have the programs in place that will provide the skilled workers needed."
"We are looking for programs that will help us get jobs," said Frank Russell, Student Government Association President. "I am a perfect example. I was working at one of the plants as a laborer and asked my supervisor what I had to do to become an operator. He told me to go to SOWELA and get my degree in process technology."
Building on this fall's enrollment, SOWELA has targeted a student population of 5,000 by 2016. "We are confident we can reach this goal," said Dr. Rick Bateman, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. "With the booming economic climate and the interest in obtaining relevant education, SOWELA is in a perfect position to provide affordable education conveniently delivered to help our students succeed."
SOWELA Technical Community College is a member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. It is based in Lake Charles and also operates the Morgan Smith facility in Jennings.