SOWELA Spotlight: Machine Tool Technology Program

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Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 8:24 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Prospective machinists and millwrights looking to get training in what the Louisiana Workforce Commission considers a four-star job can find everything they need at SOWELA Technical Community College. Randall Kimbro is an instructor at SOWELA who joined us this morning to talk about their Machine Tool Technology program in Lake Charles.

Machine Tool Technology is an in-demand career path both locally and across the United States. SOWELA’s associate degree program is designed to prepare students with a practical approach to what is sometimes referred to as indoor and outdoor machinist jobs.

Students will learn key aspects of manufacturing, including how to:

  • Install conveyor systems
  • Connect machinery to power supplies and piping
  • Direct hoisting and setting machines
  • Adjust moving and stationary parts of machines

The curriculum includes numerical controlled (CNC) machines and NCCER certification, which are great resume boosters.

As a four-star job, millwrights can anticipate a starting pay of around $19.57 an hour and earn upwards of $37.42 an hour with more experience.

Local industries in our area also offer apprenticeship opportunities for graduates of the Machine Tool Technology program. And Citgo’s four-year apprenticeship program even applies the two yeas of Machine Tool classes to its apprenticeship, enabling those who go through the program to move faster with raises given to graduates as they show mastery in specific skills.

To learn more about the Machine Tool Technology program, you can visit or call (337) 421-6550 or email