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SOWELA Receives Donation from CITGO for Cloud-Based Simtronics Software


Donation will Fund Software for SOWELA’s Process Technology Program

Lake Charles, Louisiana – March 25, 2021

Officials from SOWELA Technical Community College announced today a donation from CITGO that will fund cloud-based Simtronics software for students enrolled in SOWELA’s in-demand Process Technology (PTech) program. Simtronics is world renowned for its Operator Training Simulator (OTS) technology.

SOWELA Process Technology students will have access to this revolutionary software as they train to become board or console operators, professions that are quickly growing in Louisiana. With a booming industrial sector creating more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities, this donation, which is part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, offers a way to meet the needs in STEM fields.

“Through the support of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, SOWELA’s PTech program has continued to provide our students access to the most updated tools, equipment, and technology that will prepare them to be skilled and qualified operators,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “SOWELA is very fortunate to have industry partners such as CITGO who take an active role in developing the workforce of tomorrow. The strength of our business/industry partnerships is a key component to our on-going success and our ability to provide a trained workforce for Southwest Louisiana.”

Prior to the software donation, SOWELA students were only able to access plant process technology on SOWELA’s physical campus. Now, the newly installed cloud-based Simtronics software will enable students to practice and access the technology from anywhere.

“All of us at SOWELA are excited to offer this software for our students to use off campus,” said Richard Louviere, SOWELA School of Industrial Technology Dean. “Our students will no longer be limited in their opportunity to receive as much practice as they desire – even from the comfort of their own homes.”

SOWELA’s Process Technology program prepares students to monitor, operate, and maintain equipment used in the processing of raw material into marketable chemical/petrochemical products. The program includes instruction in material handling, crushing, grinding and sizing, extraction, distillation, evaporation, drying, absorption, heat transfer, cracking, and reaction processes. It also includes codes and standards, chemical and fire safety, and general plant operations. Interested students can learn more at www.sowela.edu/process-technology.

“As we continue to see a growing need for STEM professionals in Southwest Louisiana, CITGO is always looking for new ways to support educational programs and technologies that empower our future generations,” said Jerry Dunn, CITGO Vice President and General Manager Lake Charles Refinery. “We see the value of STEM in our own operations, and we’re committed to working with schools and universities in our regions to make STEM education a priority.”

CITGO has a long history in the Lake Charles area starting with the building of the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex in 1944. Today, the refinery is the largest of the three CITGO refineries as well as the sixth-largest refining facility in the United States. Additionally, through the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, the company actively supports the academic exploration of STEM education in the schools nearby its refineries in Corpus Christi, TX; Lake Charles, LA, Lemont, IL and its headquarters in Houston, TX. Since the initiative’s inception, CITGO has awarded more than $1.5 million toward programs that promote the importance of STEM education and provide educators with the resources they need.

For more information or to apply to SOWELA, visit www.sowela.edu. Anyone needing additional assistance can contact onestop@sowela.edu or call (337) 421-6550. SOWELA is now enrolling for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters.

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.

About CITGO
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a recognized leader in the refining industry with a well-known brand. CITGO operates three refineries located in Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Lemont, Ill., and wholly and/or jointly owns 42 terminals, six pipelines and three lubricants blending and packaging plants. With approximately 3,400 employees and a combined crude capacity of approximately 769,000 barrels-per-day (bpd), CITGO is ranked as the sixth-largest, and one of the most complex independent refiners in the United States. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products and supplies a network of approximately 4,600 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets, all located east of the Rocky Mountains.  CITGO Petroleum Corporation is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc.