BATON ROUGE – Today, Southwestern Energy (SWN), the nation’s largest multi-basin natural gas producer with operations in Louisiana, announced a $300,000 donation to increase available Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) scholarships. The three-year commitment aids skilled and post-secondary education access as well as post-graduation career placement in the broader LCTCS system, including Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College (NLTCC), and SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA).
“Access to a trade or technical program should never prevent enrollment,” said Bill Way, President and CEO of SWN. “We’re proud to invest in scholarship programs that help bridge the funding gap and maintain academic and career goals. As we look to recruit and hire locally, the community and technical college programs are critical to preparing Louisianans for energy careers with Southwestern, and more broadly."
With the $100,000 annual investment over three years, SWN expects to support 40-50 students annually and the company is working with the community colleges to develop a summer intern program that fosters post-graduation career opportunities. LCTCS is also expanding their energy-sector focused offerings to include education programs for Lease Operators, I&E Techs, Control Room Operators, and Air Emission Specialists.
"The oil and gas sector is a critical part of Louisiana’s economy and we’re continually focused on ways to adapt and expand our curriculum offerings to meet the industry’s employment needs," said LCTCS System President Dr. Monty Sullivan. “We’re grateful for Southwestern’s commitment to career and technical education and recognizing the role a strong community college system plays in workforce development.”
BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr. added, “We are incredibly thankful for this contribution from our partners at Southwestern Energy. This investment in our students and higher education system will have a tremendous impact on our workforce that extends beyond our region and state.”
"Our programs depend heavily on scholarships and investments like these," said SOWELA Chancellor Neil Aspinwall. "Our students get the PELL Grant so they can borrow some money, but that doesn't cover all their costs. Jobs such as PTEC, Industrial Instrumentation, and Electrical Instrumentation will continue to grow because of this investment."
"We truly appreciate this investment in the students of Northwest Louisiana," said NLTCC Chancellor Earl Meador. "SWN's effort to take the time to understand our students gives us a unique opportunity to meet the workforce needs in our region."
The Louisiana education investment builds on SWN’s broad commitment to education and workforce development initiatives. In its Appalachia-region assets, SWN has also long-supported training and scholarship programs in the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas.