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SOWELA Announces Start of First-Ever Training Class in Newly Launched TC Energy Pipeline Academy


Information Session Scheduled for Thursday, April 8, at 4 p.m. on SOWELA’s Campus

Lake Charles, Louisiana – April 1, 2021

SOWELA Technical Community College is now accepting applications for its first-ever training class for Pipeline Technicians in the newly-opened TC Energy Pipeline Academy, the only academy of its kind in Louisiana.

The class is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 24, and an informational session for those interested in the Pipeline Technician course will be held Thursday, April 8, at 4 pm. The purpose of the 10-week Pipeline Technician program is to provide classroom instruction and practical shop experience to prepare students for employment in a variety of jobs in the pipeline industry.

At the information session on April 8, prospective pipeline technician students will have the opportunity to meet faculty, check eligibility for scholarships and financial aid, apply, and ask questions about the program. To learn more about the informational session or to register to attend, visit https://www.sowela.edu/workforce-solutions/pipeline-academy/technician/.

“We are very excited to launch the first training program in the TC Energy Pipeline Academy. Several different industry representatives serve on the advisory board for this academy, ensuring the curriculum is relevant to employer needs and giving students the training and skills they need to be successful in their field,” said SOWELA TC Energy Pipeline Academy Program Coordinator Mitchell Heuring. “As the only pipeline academy in Louisiana, completers of this program will have a unique set of skills that set them apart in the workforce.”

Students enrolled in the 10-week program will receive an overview of the mechanical equipment used in the pipeline industry. Instruction includes test overfill protection devices, startup of a liquid pipeline, shutdown of a liquid pipeline, and rectifier installation. Training covers codes and standards, fire safety, and pipeline operations. Safety and efficient work practices are emphasized, along with basic occupational and employability skills.

Additionally, the program provides supplementary training for persons previously or currently in related pipeline positions. The program generally prepares individuals to understand flow measurement, corrosion and cathodic protection, pipeline maintenance, and more. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a Pipeline Technician Certification of Completion.

In July of 2019, SOWELA received a $1 million donation from TC Energy to fund the creation of a new state-of-the-art TC Energy Pipeline Academy on its Lake Charles Campus. The academy will include a pipeline for training purposes that is the first of its kind in Louisiana and only the third of its kind in the nation.

“The development of a skilled and qualified workforce for the pipeline industry is paramount to the continued success of the petrochemical industry,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “Through the partnership with TC Energy, SOWELA has been able to create a training program that will provide the skills and knowledge necessary for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the pipeline field as well as the updated training needed by current pipeline workers. TC Energy has been a great partner and supporter of this very unique program.”

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

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

To learn more about the courses offered at SOWELA’s new TC Energy Pipeline Academy, visit https://www.sowela.edu/workforce-solutions/pipeline-academy/.

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.