A Message from the Chancellor

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Dr. Neil Aspinwall

On behalf of the faculty and staff, I welcome you to SOWELA Technical Community College. We are very excited that you have chosen SOWELA to help achieve your higher education goals. As a comprehensive community college, we offer high-quality technical programs that will prepare you for a career in two years or less and degree programs designed to help you transfer to four-year colleges and universities. SOWELA is entering a new era and many exciting changes are taking place on campus as well as throughout the Southwest Louisiana region.

With the announcement of over $100 billion in industry expansions in the Lake Charles area, SOWELA is designing and implementing new programs and services to help provide the training needed to fill the thousands of jobs that will be created by these expansions. The College also continues to expand and add the facilities needed to keep pace with this thriving and diversified economy. Since 2012, the College has been in a constant stage of construction with the addition of the Phillips 66 Process Technology Building (2012), the Arts and Humanities Building (2013), the H.C. Drew Nursing & Allied Health Building (2014), the SOWELA Regional Training Center (2016), the Sycamore Student Services Building (2017), and a new Morgan Smith campus and building in Jennings, Louisiana (2018). The Oakdale Campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College began a part of SOWELA in July 2018. A new Center for Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality is currently being planned and we anticipate a groundbreaking during summer 2019.

Our dedicated faculty and staff members are student focused and pride themselves on providing the pedagogical expertise, personal assistance, and the student support services needed to ensure that you will achieve success in your chosen program of study. Whether you just graduated high school, have been out of school for many years, or are returning to update your skills to improve your current job situation, we have the educational program and/or degree that will help put you on the path to a rewarding career.

SOWELA is also a strong community partner that strives to help improve the economy of Southwest Louisiana by providing programs and services focused on strengthening the area workforce. SOWELA has established many partnerships with the businesses and industries in the region in order to help build a strong workforce and enhance the skills of the current workforce and prepare them to compete more successfully in the 21st century global economy.

As you become acquainted with the SOWELA campus and the faculty and staff, you will quickly learn that we are here to help you achieve success and accomplish the educational and life goals you have set. Pursing a higher education degree takes courage, stamina, and a great deal of personal responsibility and I want to assure you that we are here to make your journey as smooth as possible.

The “SOWELA Family” is here when you need us so please do not hesitate to call upon me or any of the faculty and staff when you need assistance or have questions. Thanks again for choosing SOWELA Technical Community College. I am confident SOWELA can help you build a brighter future through the achievement of your higher education goals.

Dr. Neil Aspinwall


SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA) is a member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and under the governance of the Louisiana Board of Regents. The course offerings and requirements of SOWELA are continually under examination and revision. This catalog presents the offerings and requirements in effect at the time of publication but makes no guarantee that they will not be changed or revoked. However, adequate and reasonable notice will be given to students affected by any changes. This catalog is not intended to state contractual terms and does not constitute a contract between the student and SOWELA. SOWELA reserves the right to make changes as required in course offerings, curricula, academic policies and other rules and regulations affecting students, to be effective whenever determined by the institution. These changes will govern current and formerly enrolled students. Enrollment of all students is subject to these conditions. SOWELA provides the opportunity for students to increase their knowledge by providing programs of instruction in the various disciplines and programs through faculty who are qualified and meet the credentialing requirements of the appropriate accrediting bodies for teaching at the college level. The acquisition and retention of knowledge by any student is, however, contingent upon the student’s desire and ability to learn, and his or her application of appropriate study techniques to any course or program.


Technical education deals with knowledge, skills, and attitudes that prepare the individual for a specific occupation or vocation. To assist in the accomplishment of this task, the Southwest Louisiana Trade School was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1938, and in 1940, classes began in five programs of training. In 1962, the name was changed to SOWELA Technical Institute due to expansion of facilities, growth of the student body, increased curricula, and the need for additional technical education.

In 1971, SOWELA Technical Institute gained significant recognition upon its accreditation by the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – one of the most prestigious educational accrediting agencies in the United States.

SOWELA Technical Institute moved to its present location at 3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Avenue in January 1980. The institute was renamed SOWELA Regional Technical Institute in March 1990, as it served as the regional center for Region Five.

Another milestone was reached on July 27, 1995, when the school was renamed Louisiana Technical College – SOWELA Campus. SOWELA was among the largest and most progressive post-secondary technical colleges in the state. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors changed the status of Louisiana Technical College – SOWELA Campus to SOWELA Technical Community College effective July 1, 2003.

In 2010, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors approved the transfer of the Morgan Smith campus in Jennings to SOWELA Technical Community College. Previously, both Morgan Smith and SOWELA were part of Region Five. The transfer of Morgan Smith to SOWELA is a homecoming designed to increase services to Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes.

Institutional Mission

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates that empower learners in transfer, career, and technical education to excel as globally competitive citizens.

Institutional Vision

SOWELA Technical Community College models excellence in teaching, training, and service.

Institutional Values

SOWELA Technical Community College values: Student Success, Integrity, Collaboration, Innovation, Access, and Diversity.