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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Apprenticeship Graduates Launch Career with Bechtel as Full-Time Employees

  • 16 July 2020
    Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Industry Leadership , Press Release

Next intake of apprenticeship students to start in July at SOWELA

Eleven students from Southwest Louisiana graduated this week from Bechtel’s Apprenticeship Program and will join the company as full-time employees later this month.

This first version of the program, which trained students to specialize in pipefitting techniques, was kicked off in March 2020 in partnership with SOWELA Technical Community College. The curriculum is approved by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and allows students to join the workforce as Pipefitting Helper Level B, which is the starting point to achieve journeyman status as a pipefitter.

“The primary purpose of SOWELA’s Workforce Solutions division, is to respond to the training needs of local and regional employers,” said David Hayes, Executive Director of SOWELA Workforce Solutions. “Our developing partnership with Bechtel is an example of how such partnerships can work. In this partnership, SOWELA provides the initial training to apprenticeship candidates, and Bechtel provides employment opportunities and continued on-the-job training for those who successfully complete the training program. It is mutually beneficial because everyone wins.”

“Everywhere we go, Bechtel aims to employ and procure locally first, then regionally, then nationally to ensure it has the craft professionals, materials, equipment, and services required to build its projects,” said Natalie Wane, Bechtel’s Manager of Industrial Relations. ”For that reason, we continuously invest in developing new talent, such as these apprenticeship programs for key construction trades, in partnership with local community colleges, such as SOWELA Technical Community College.”

Every year, the construction industry generates many thousands of jobs and brings many opportunities for experienced trade professionals, as well as upskilling and training opportunities that will help develop the local workforce for many years to come.

For the past several years, Bechtel has increasingly cultivated partnerships with selected high schools and community colleges within the communities where they operate to develop a comprehensive Apprenticeship Program for key constructions crafts.

Electrical Apprenticeship Program starting July 20

As part of this initiative, SOWELA Technical Community College will be offering an Electrical Apprenticeship Program starting July 20, 2020. The 10-week course will prepare students to enter the workforce as an Electrical Helper Level B, allowing all graduates to join Bechtel projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast as full-time employees.

For more information or to register in this or upcoming programs, please visit or call (337) 421-6560.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 80 years and has locations in Jennings, Lake Charles and Oakdale, LA. For more information, visit


Bechtel                            SOWELA
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About Bechtel

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.  

Bechtel serves the Energy; Infrastructure; Manufacturing & Technology; Mining & Metals; and Nuclear, Security & Environmental markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations.

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