Higher Education graphic

The Port of Lake Charles will give McNeese State University and Sowela Technical Community College $300,000 each over a three-year period to promote economic growth and meet the employee demand by high-dollar industrial expansion projects and other area employers.

Port board members approved the funding allocation during a regular meeting on Monday. Both schools will receive $100,000 installments during the port's 2019, 2020 and 2021 budget years.

Bill Rase, port director, said the money — which comes from the port's operational budget — will benefit the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, programs and related facilities at McNeese.

"It may be hardware, like microscopes or computers or something they need to upgrade," he said.

Rase said Sowela will use the allocated funding to train students in the culinary arts program. Those students can later fill jobs in the hospitality industries, such as casinos, restaurants and hotels.

Rase said both schools will have to provide port officials with specifics on how the money will be spent. He said the port and the schools will enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement that outlines what the money will pay for.

Over the years, the port has helped the local economy by attracting various businesses to the Southwest Louisiana region, Rase said.

"L'Auberge and Golden Nugget are sitting on our property, along with several LNG facilities," Rase said. "All tenants are requiring for their existence this type of training for personnel. In a way, we're providing the tool for them to get that done."

Calcasieu Parish Government and Cameron Parish Reporter

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