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SOWELA’s Machine Tool Technology Program Celebrates First Graduating Class


Original Seven Machine Tool Students Receive Their Diplomas May 24 and All Graduate Employed as a Machinist

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – Monday, May 16, 2022)

SOWELA’s first cohort of Machine Tool Technology students will receive their diplomas on Tuesday, May 24, as part of the College’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony. The class of seven began its college journey in August 2020 and overcame several obstacles to achieve their educational dreams, including multiple natural disasters and a pandemic. In addition to securing their degrees, all seven students are employed and plan to immediately begin using the skills gained in this program.

“My Pawpaw was a millwright, and as soon as I heard about SOWELA’s Machine Tool Technology program, I knew that was something I wanted to do,” said Machine Tool Technology graduate Hayden McLaughlin. “The best part of the program is getting hands-on experience with the tools and machines in addition to learning theory. I started working as a machinist about halfway through my degree, and I really enjoy working on various pumps, mills and lathes.”

Machinists and Millwrights are considered four-star jobs according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Star jobs are considered top-rated occupations based on occupational outlook, educational requirement and salary. Millwrights can anticipate a starting pay of $19.57/hour and earn upwards of $37.42 or more with experience.

“As an instructor, I have to say I am very proud of these students and what they have overcome and accomplished in the past two years to graduate on time,” said Randall Kimbro, Machine Tool Technology Instructor. “Now as they go out and start their new careers as inside/outside machinists, I know they will continue to have a passion for precision when it comes to the work they perform.”

Machine Tool Technology is an associate degree program designed to prepare students with a practical approach to machining and millwright. Students learn to install conveyor systems, connect machinery to power supplies and piping, direct hoisting and setting of machines and adjust the moving and stationary parts of machines to certain specifications. The curriculum includes computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines and NCCER certification.

SOWELA’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony will be held at the Lake Charles Civic Center at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, May 24. Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser will present the Commencement address. Approximately 297 students are eligible to graduate and receive degrees.

For more information about the Machine Tool Technology program, visit our Machine Tool Technology page or call (337) 421-6550 or email onestop@sowela.edu.

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.