TC Energy Funding ‘Pipeline Academy’ at Louisiana Technical College

(UC) — A Louisiana technical college has received a $1 million donation from TC Energy to enable students to gain hands-on pipeline experience at its new “pipeline academy.”

The money for the program and state-of-the-art Process Technology Center at Sowela Technical Community College includes classroom equipment, instructor funding, and a real pipeline training loop. The pipeline will not carry any material, but students will be able to hone their skills on a real pipeline.

“They actually will build an actual pipeline training loop. It carries no material, but it will be built on campus so individuals can come and train on actual pipeline. There’s classroom equipment, they provide funding for the instructor, and some of the planning that million dollars will be used for,” said SOWELA Chancellor Neil Aspinwall.

According to local Louisiana NBC affiliate KPLC, the program will be the first in the state and only the third in the nation.

The oil and gas industry employs one of the largest workforces in southern Louisiana and TC Energy's manager of government relations and public affairs, Alex Stroman, says they look forward to advancing the opportunities to young people and the economy.

“Students who enter this program will be more competitive because of the hands-on experience that they will get. This newly skilled labor force will better their own lives and the lives of their family and communities and the economy across the entire region and those already working in the industry will be able, throughout their careers, to return here to SOWELA for continuing education and hone their skills and continue to grow these skills,” said Stroman.

The academy will include an advisory committee to ensure the program is tailored to fit the evolving needs of the industry.

Students will be required to complete shift work at the training center as part of their course work.

The program is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2020 and they are anticipating a waiting list upon opening. Sowela did not specify how many students would be admitted into the program.

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