$75,000 Southwestern Energy Donation Boosts SOWELA Industrial Program Scholarships

Three-year Commitment Aids Students in Process, Machine Tool, Industrial Electrical and Instrumentation Technologies

Lake Charles, Louisiana – August 30, 2023

A $75,000 donation from Southwestern Energy (SWN), one of Louisiana’s largest natural gas producers, to the SOWELA Foundation will enhance scholarship award capabilities within SOWELA’s School of Industrial Technology and School of Transportation and Applied Technology, the organizations announced today, to prepare students for successful careers in energy industry-related occupations.

In the first of three sets of scholarships, 10 students received awards to help with tuition expenses. The $75,000 total gift is part of SWN’s $300,000 donation to the broader Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) announced in late 2022.

Programs included in the scholarship are part of SOWELA Technical Community College’s Process, Machine Tool, Industrial Electrical and Industrial Instrumentation Technology departments. Scholarships are awarded to students like 38-year-old father of three, Ramon Zapata, who aims to graduate as soon as possible and begin working as an operator.

“For someone being out of school for 20 years, I thought I would be in over my head, but this scholarship is a big help,” said Zapata, a current SOWELA Process Technology student and SWN scholarship recipient. “After graduating from high school, I told myself I would go back later, but life kept getting in the way. I shared with my wife I wanted to go back to school, and she had me signed up the next day,” Zapata continued.

SWN’s Louisiana education investment builds on the company’s commitment to education and workforce development initiatives across the state. The three-year partnership with LCTCS aids skilled and post-secondary education access as well as post-graduation career placement in the system, including Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College (NLTCC), and SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA).

“Southwestern Energy is dedicated to recruiting and hiring locally, and investing in critical technical college and training programs is the first step to meeting the industry’s workforce needs in Louisiana,” said Sean Burke, SWN’s Haynesville Area Director. “Since entering the Haynesville in 2021, we have prioritized supporting organizations that make a meaningful impact in the communities where we work. SOWELA and the LCTCS system as a whole have been great partners, and we look forward to helping more Louisianians access these critical career training opportunities.”

In 2014 and 2021, SOWELA received the Louisiana Board of Regents designation as a Center for Workforce Excellence in Industrial, Process and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Technology. Faculty engage students with hands-on learning and cutting-edge technology, including an LNG training skid, Simtronics, glass labs, instrumentation and electrical labs and much more.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 85 years. For more information about SOWELA’s industrial programs, contact the One Stop Enrollment Center at onestop@sowela.edu or call (337) 421-6550. Interested individuals can also our School of Industrial Technology page.

About Southwestern Energy

Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) is a leading U.S. producer of natural gas and natural gas liquids focused on responsibly developing large-scale energy assets in the nation’s most prolific shale gas basins. SWN’s returns-driven strategy strives to create sustainable value for its stakeholders by leveraging its scale, financial strength and operational execution. For additional information, please visit SWN’s website (opens new window).

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