Jeff Davis

Dec 5, 2013 6:37 PM by MELISSA CANONE

Welding program in Jennings to support Leevac shipyards

SOWELA Technical Community College and LEEVAC Shipyards announced a new, non-credit compressed welding training program to start at the Morgan Smith Site December 16, 2013.

The training program consists of 405 hours that will prepare individuals to work as welders for the LEEVAC Shipyards in Jennings. At the completion of the training, program graduates will be guaranteed an interview with the successful candidates being offered the opportunity to fill the 100+ job openings available at LEEVAC Shipyards.

The welding program will be offered in the evening from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost of the welding training program is $2,988. However, to help offset the tuition, SOWELA is partnering with Capital One Bank and the Business and Career Solutions Center Calcasieu Consortium to provide financial assistance to make the program free to eligible participants.

"Through our partnership with the Business and Career Solutions Center Calcasieu Consortium," said Dr. Joseph Fleishman, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development, "SOWELA will provide up to $2,000 in educational funding to eligible students.

Eligibility is based on low to moderate-income rates established by the state. In addition, Capital One Bank through SOWELA will provide scholarships for up to one third of the cost, or $900, for students completing a job readiness course. By leveraging all available financial resources/partnerships the actual cost of the $2,988 program to an eligible student will only be $65."

"We are pleased to participate in this partnership with SOWELA, Capital One and the Business and Career Solutions Center Calcasieu Consortium. This is a much-needed relationship for Jeff Davis Parish and LEEVAC Shipyards. We look forward to working with the students and interviewing them as potential employees," said Charlie Butler, Human Resources Manager, LEEVAC Shipyards.

"This is a great opportunity for students in the Jeff Davis Parish to enter the welding profession and to have an interview with one of the leading employers in the area," said Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Chancellor of SOWELA. "As a result of the support from Capital One Bank and the Business and Career Solutions Center Calcasieu Consortium, eligible individuals will have access to high quality industry based training that will immediately result in an interview and possible employment with LEEVAC Shipyards."

Students interested in receiving the Business and Career Solutions Center Calcasieu Consortium financial support will be required to attend an orientation meeting at the Morgan Smith site in Jennings. Students taking advantage of the Capital One Bank scholarship will need to pay $65 and complete the Capital One Bank job readiness course held at the Morgan Smith site.

For more information or to enroll, contact the Office of Economic and Workforce Development 337.421.6964 or email
Space is available on a first come first served basis limited to 17 students.

SOWELA Technical Community College is a member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. The main campus is located 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 > or contact



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