Chennault International Airport (LCH) and SOWELA Technical Community College are located adjacent to each other on the eastern edge of Lake Charles. SOWELA is a regional educational anchor, providing degrees, programs, and certificates in a wide variety of career and occupational areas. The new culinary, gaming, and hospitality building (just opened and is a state-of-the-art facility training students to enter some of the fastest-growing sectors in southwest Louisiana). SOWELA’s student population continues to grow, prompting them to consider future needs and expansion. Chennault is a regional and beyond the hub of aerospace activity located close to the I-10 corridor. Chennault has the longest runways between Houston and Cape Canaveral, FL, which can serve a large variety of aircraft. Industrial operations on site are ideal for multi-faceted tenants. Chennault has 900 acres of development sites and is poised for future growth but lacks sufficient infrastructure to maximize potential developer interest.
The Port of Lake Charles owns over 300 acres of land and the rail that extends to Cameron Parish. There is an interest from the port in coordinating with Chennault and SOWELA on future development. A Chennault and SOWELA Resilience District would focus on supporting long-term growth by designating a specific funding district to allocate funds while prioritizing infrastructure improvements.
Chennault has a national impact, including one of the longest runways on the Gulf Coast and notable clients that support multiple international-level aerospace companies that offer well-paying jobs. Its continued growth would not only provide more jobs but jumpstart development and investment in the area. SOWE-LA continues to grow in enrollment and offer more programs and transferable credits to students, enhancing options for graduates in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand sectors that directly impact Calcasieu, including hospitality and culinary arts.
SOWELA provides educational credentials that allow graduates to be directly employ-able in the industries in Cameron Parish, including technology, design, maintenance, and repair. Chennault provides jobs with clients with regional, national, and international impact for residents of Cameron Parish.