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SOWELA Announces Plans for Louisiana’s First-Ever Outdoor Training Pipeline


Lake Charles College Receives $1 Million Donation from TC Energy to Fund New Academy with Real-Life Training

(Lake Charles, Louisiana) – SOWELA Technical Community College announced today it has received a $1 million donation from TC Energy that will be used to create a new state-of-the-art TC Energy Pipeline Academy at its Lake Charles Campus. The academy will also include a pipeline for training purposes that will be the first of its kind in Louisiana and only the third of its kind in the nation.

The TC Energy Pipeline Academy at SOWELA will serve as regional learning center for students pursuing a career in the oil and gas field – one of Louisiana’s largest workforce industries. The academy will include a pipeline industry advisory committee that will help implement curriculum and course offerings tailored to the industry’s need.

The pipeline training area will be located next to SOWELA’s new Process Technology Center. The center will function as a working plant and provide students with practical, hands-on experience. Students will be required to complete shift work in the Process Technology Center as part of their curriculum. The center will operate 24/7.

“The creation of the TC Energy Pipeline Training Academy is a great and unique opportunity for SOWELA to partner with one of the world’s largest energy companies to provide training in a specific field that touches all aspects of the Louisiana economy,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “TC Energy’s investment is yet another example of how industry and education can partner to provide a trained and skilled workforce for Louisiana and the nation. I am very excited and greatly appreciative that TC Energy has chosen SOWELA as their partner to establish the Pipeline Training Academy.”

TC Energy is an industry leader in operating and constructing energy infrastructure in North America. It currently manages more than 57,500 miles of natural gas pipeline and 3,000 miles of oil pipeline in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, employing approximately 7,000 people. About 150 TC Energy employees live and work in Louisiana.

“With a long-established presence in Louisiana, TC Energy is proud to partner with SOWELA as we work together on education and training initiatives that will help develop a skilled workforce and the next generation of community leaders,” said John McWilliams, Vice President, U.S. Gas Operations, TC Energy. “Through the hands-on learning that the TC Energy Pipeline Training Academy will provide, students will gain experience with advanced technology, tools, and techniques used in the industry that will lead to improved performance while safely meeting our countries growing energy needs.”

The TC Energy Pipeline Academy at SOWELA will serve as a regional learning center for students pursuing a career in the oil and gas field – one of Louisiana’s largest workforce industries. It will feature an outdoor pipeline loop construction structure that will be used to familiarize and train students with real-life work environments and scenarios including testing, compliance, security, monitoring and repair.

According to recent studies, the oil and gas industry employs nearly 45,000 Louisianans, primarily in South Louisiana. The new academy is being created to help fill a growing number of energy industry jobs and provide specific pipeline training in South Louisiana and surrounding areas.

TC Energy also awarded $10,000 in scholarships to four SOWELA students. The students are Kaylee Marie Clark, Chemical Laboratory Technology; Mason Scott Romero, Process Technology; Jermaine Q. Pattum, Welding; and Garret Paul Broussard, Industrial Electrical Technology.

In addition to the $1 million donation from TC Energy, SOWELA recently announced a $500,000 donation from Houston-based Cheniere Energy and the launch of a partnership in the form of an apprenticeship program.