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New State-of-the-Art Welding Classroom and Renovated Workshop Now Open at SOWELA’s Oakdale Site

New Classroom and Renovated Workshop in Oakdale Adds to SOWELA’s Welding Programs at Jennings and Lake Charles Locations

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – August 4, 2021)

SOWELA officials have announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art welding classroom and renovated workshop at the college’s Oakdale site. Welding classes are available at all three SOWELA locations. SOWELA’s Welding program at the Oakdale site is the only one available in Allen Parish to offer both combination pipe and structural welding training.

The newly renovated 2,242-square-foot workshop features 24 booths and can accommodate 24 students in the nearly doubled workspace. The new 777-square-foot classroom can accommodate 20 students. Along with the booths and classroom, new state-of-the-art technology is available to welding students including plasma cutters, promethean board and computers.

“This facility is so much more than a building. It shows SOWELA’s priority of providing students in Allen Parish with the skills and education needed for employability in today’s workforce,” said SOWELA Oakdale Site Coordinator Magan Soileau. “The demand for skilled welders is continuously growing, not only locally, but nationally as well.”

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers is expected to increase by 3% by 2029. According to the same statistics, the median wage for those in the welding field in Louisiana is $55,920. Currently, welders make up nearly 12,000 jobs in Louisiana.

“The new welding facility at SOWELA’s Oakdale site allows us to prepare our students on the most up-to-date equipment in the industry, which is vital to the education and training of our current and future workforce,” said Dr. William Mayo, SOWELA’s School of Transportation and Applied Technology Dean. “Particularly at this time in our country, when rebuilding, repairing, and expanding our nation’s infrastructure is of great urgency.”

The purpose of SOWELA’s Welding Program is to prepare students for employment in the field of welding. Instruction is provided in various processes and techniques of welding including oxy-fuel cutting, carbon arc cutting, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, flux-cored arc welding, gas metal arc welding, pipe welding, plasma arc cutting, blueprint reading, weld symbols, and joints. Students who complete the program will have covered the skills designated by the American Welding Society (AWS) and will be prepared to take the AWS Entry Level Welder Test.

Recently, SOWELA achieved the highest retention rate among community and technical colleges in Louisiana. The college was also named WalletHub’s #1 community college in Louisiana in 2021 for the third straight year. SOWELA is also ranked #27 overall in the entire U.S. out of all 698 community colleges in the rankings.

SOWELA offers more than 30 technical and academic programs including Aviation Maintenance Technology, Industrial Electrical Technology, Welding, Vehicle Maintenance Technology, Forest Technology, Sterile Processing, and Practical Nursing (LPN).

For more information about any of SOWELA’s programs or to apply online, visit www.sowela.edu/apply. Anyone needing additional assistance can contact onestop@sowela.edu for more information.

About SOWELA Technical Community College
SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, online, 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 and has locations in Jennings, Lake Charles, and Oakdale, Louisiana. For more information, visit www.sowela.edu.