Aug 15, 2013 9:17 AM by Press Release

$200,000 Rapid Response Grant Boosts Aviation Technology Program at SOWELA

SOWELA Technical Community College was awarded a $200,000 Rapid Response grant from the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS). The grant will expand training opportunities in the College's aviation maintenance field. News of the grant award follows the recent announcement by Governor Jindal of hundreds of new aviation maintenance jobs being created in Lake Charles by the arrival of AAR and an investment of $3.7 million to create a center of excellence in aviation training at SOWELA.

The grant will accelerate SOWELA's hiring of additional instructors for its Aviation Technology program and upgrade facilities to better accommodate the training of aviation mechanics to become FAA certified. "The recent news of the expansion at Chennault International Airport means that work in the aviation maintenance field is clearly on the rise," said Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Chancellor of SOWELA, "The Rapid Response grant will help SOWELA remain the workforce solution for this rapidly growing industry in southwest Louisiana."

"The grant will help sustain our Aviation Maintenance Technology program over the long haul and help the College produce and ever increasing number of licensed airframe and power plant aircraft mechanics," stated Dr. Rick Bateman, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Success. Northrop Grumman and a host of other area aviation companies already employ SOWELA graduates and with the arrival of AAR, the need for highly skilled employees will be even greater.

According to Dr. Joe Fleishman, Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development, the many baby boomers that are retiring from the aviation industry is creating new opportunities for SOWELA students to enter the aviation technology field immediately upon completion of their studies.

SOWELA Technical Community College Southwest Louisiana Technical Community College is a member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. It is based in Lake Charles and also operates the Morgan Smith facility in Jennings. SOWELA in 2013 is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of career and technical education in the area.

For more information about SOWELA and its programs, visit


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