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Governor Announces SOWELA to Build $10.2 Million Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality Center

Center will be first of its kind in Southwest Louisiana and help meet demand for hospitality jobs

(LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA) – At a press conference today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that SOWELA Technical Community College will build a $10.2 million culinary, gaming, and hospitality center at its main campus in Lake Charles. The facility will house SOWELA’s Culinary Arts program, as well as new gaming and hospitality programs. The new center will be the first of its kind in Southwest Louisiana.

“Southwest Louisiana is becoming more of a tourist destination. However, in order to remain viable and successful, there has to be a workforce available and at present no one is focusing on the training needs of this expanding industry. The new facility will help SOWELA provide the programs and services needed to build and sustain this much needed workforce,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall.

The culinary, gaming, and hospitality center is a direct result of the hospitality industry’s demand for skilled employees. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Industry Employment Projections for 2024 in the Lake Charles region, the gaming sector is projected to increase by 15.7% as compared to petroleum and coal manufacturing which is projected to increase by only 2.0%.[1]

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 80 years. For more information visit www.sowela.edu.


[1] Louisiana Workforce Commission, “Industry Employment Projections to 2024.” http://www.laworks.net/LaborMarketInfo/LMI_OccIndustryProj.asp?years=20152024.