SOWELA receives $1 million for new TC Energy Pipeline Academy

Updated: Jul. 23, 2019 at 7:04 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A big announcement from SOWELA Technical Community College where they are getting a million-dollar donation and a new oil and gas pipeline training academy.

It will be the first in the state and only the third in the nation.

From process technology to nursing, SOWELA plays a major role in training the workforce for Southwest Louisiana. Now, SOWELA will have an outdoor training pipeline and academy for students to learn all facets of the industry. TC Energy has donated $1 million to fund it.

“They actually will build an actual pipeline training loop. This is an actual real pipeline, it carries no material, but it will be built on campus so individuals can come and train on actual pipeline. There’s classroom equipment, they provide funding for the instructor, and some of the planning that million dollars will be used for,” said SOWELA Chancellor Neil Aspinwall.

A vast network of pipelines plays a vital role in the energy industry.

"Most of the petrochemical industries, the huge pipelines that enter and exit those facilities--someone has to maintain them, someone has to design them, someone has to fix them if something's wrong. So, there's wonderful jobs there, good paying jobs. So, this program will help train the workforce for this industry," said Aspinwall.

TC Energy's manager of government relations and public affairs, Alex Stroman, says they look forward to advancing the opportunities to young people and the economy.

“Students who enter this program will be more competitive because of the hands-on experience that they will get. This newly skilled labor force will better their own lives and the lives of their family and communities and the economy across the entire region and those already working in the industry will be able, throughout their careers, to return here to SOWELA for continuing education and hone their skills and continue to grow these skills,” said Stroman.

The new academy is scheduled to open in Fall 2020.

Aspinwall suggests those interested, come out immediately to begin checking out the program. That’s because he expects there to be waiting lists once it gets going.

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