Sowela receives grant for workforce development scholarships

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Sowela Technical Community College received an $80,000 grant from a local bank for workforce development scholarships for

83 students.

Students pursuing jobs as machinists,

millwrights and welders in Southwest Louisiana can enroll in the

college’s 24-week workforce

development program. The scholarship assistance is being provided

by Capital One Bank.

Neil Aspinwall, Sowela chancellor, mentioned the $47 billion worth of investments coming to the region, which will demand

a skilled workforce.

“Much of the training is going to be done in short-term, compressed schedules, and that’s a good thing,” Aspinwall said. “The

downside to that is that there is no federal financial aid assistance available.”

The scholarship will pay for one-third of 83 students’ tuition.

Aspinwall said other companies are contemplating providing scholarships as well.

“This money goes directly to the students, and that’s what counts,” he said.

Before students are eligible for the

scholarship, they will have to go through a life-skills class, which

will teach communications,

time management, goal setting and decision making.

“This is the first of anything like

this. Capital One wants to lead in innovation, and they absolutely did,”

said Joseph Fleishman,

vice chancellor of workforce development. “The ability for a

student to have access to a scholarship to defray the cost of

these programs ... is the difference between a student being able

to get the training and not.”

The average salary for these jobs is $50,000 per year.

Fil Bordelon, Lake Charles-area president for Capital One, said the bank was proud to make the donation.

“We were looking at what we could do in Southwest Louisiana to help workforce development,” Bordelon said. “The program set

up at Sowela is perfect. We hope to make a better place for the people of Southwest Louisiana.”

Applicants interested in seeking a scholarship should contact Sowela’s Office of Workforce Development at 421-6964.