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SOWELA Launches “Hope for Hospitality” Major Gift Campaign for New State-of-the-Art Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Building on Lake Charles Campus


Donations now being accepted for naming rights to various spaces within the brand-new facility

Lake Charles, Louisiana – September 10, 2021

SOWELA officials today announced the launch of “Hope for Hospitality,” a major gift campaign to raise funds for the new state-of-the-art Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality building being built on its Lake Charles Campus. There are various levels of donations for the new $10.8 million major gift campaign including naming rights for the entire facility as well as several training labs within the building, such as a baking and pastry lab, the campus’ first-ever gaming lab and more.

SOWELA broke ground on the $10.2 million state-of-the-art Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Building in October 2019. The 28,000-square-foot building will provide hands-on education and training for students seeking a growing number of jobs and careers in Louisiana’s booming hospitality industry. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

The Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Building at SOWELA will provide in-demand industry training in a revolutionary facility that will help produce a skilled and qualified workforce. As regional industries continue to expand, and new technologies are introduced, the facility will evolve, as necessary. Hospitality industry alliances and collaborations, including participation on curriculum advisory boards and equipment donations, will ensure that SOWELA faculty are delivering program training that is relevant and continues to align with employer needs.

SOWELA has already received one donation of $50,000 for the new building from Rick and Donna Richard. The donation was made in memory of their friend Brent Lumpkin. The Richard’s donation will include the naming of the left front lobby after Lumpkin, a lifelong Lake Charles resident who was active in the hospitality industry locally and served on SOWELA’s Board of Advisors.

“With the growth of the culinary, gaming, and hospitality industry in SW Louisiana, this new facility will provide the means for SOWELA to create a skilled workforce to fill the many hospitality-related jobs available in our region,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “SOWELA has been in the workforce development business for over 83 years so this new facility is just another way for the College to further partner with business and industry to ensure the continued success and growth of our regional economy.”

The Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Building will help train the growing number of workers needed to fill rapidly growing hospitality jobs. According to Louisiana Workforce Commission data, Louisiana is expected to see a 14.9% increase in hospitality employment opportunities by 2026. The goal of the new Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality building on SOWELA’s campus is to help fill Louisiana Workforce Commission-rated four-star hospitality occupations in Louisiana’s economy. Louisiana’s tourism and hospitality industry accounted for 51.3 million visitors and more than $18.8 billion according to statistics provided by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser’s office.

The primary fields of study for the facility are culinary arts, business administration and information systems technology with custom training opportunities also available.

For more information on SOWELA’s ongoing “Hope for Hospitality” campaign, visit www.sowela.edu/hope or email Kelly.Pepper@sowela.edu or call (337) 421-6903.

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.