Natchioches, LA (KMSS) — Students from nine northwest Louisiana parishes are targeted for scholarships to pursue degrees in applied engineering at Northwestern State University. The Northwest Louisiana Manufacturers Council is partnering with the NSU Foundation to present scholarships to students from Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster parishes. Manufacturers in the region hope the scholarships encourage more high school students to pursue careers in engineering technology, where jobs are available as equipment technologists, quality assurance technologists, process control programmers and other applied engineering roles. Northwestern State offers one of the few four-year technical manufacturing curriculums in central Louisiana.
“Manufacturing companies in northwest Louisiana are in need of trained workers,” said Bobby Nowlin, coordinator of Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology. “There are high-paying jobs available, but there are not enough individuals with technical skills to fill them. We are working with are industry to connect the engineering technology curriculum with regional industry needs.”
The Council hopes to offer 53 $1,000 scholarships for one year to incoming freshmen and up to five $1,000 scholarships for upperclassmen students completing their coursework. The scholarships will be funded through pooled contributions from manufacturers, businesses and individuals. Funds raised will be equally matched by Northwestern State. All companies providing scholarship funds will be recognized by Northwest Louisiana Manufacturing Manager’s Council and the NSU Foundation.
Northwestern State recently developed a similar scholarship program with the Central Louisiana Manufacturing Council and the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
Northwestern State’s Department of Engineering Technology offers students two tracks – electronics engineering technology (EET) and industrial engineering technology (IET) -- to becoming an engineering technologist. Students with an interest in solving technical problems, working with technology professionals and managing complex industrial equipment and facilities are suited for the field, according to Nowlin. The program promotes internships available at area companies, including SYSMEX, Southwestern Electric Power Company, the Army Corps of Engineers (Red River, Caddo Parish) and OMNI. The EET program also offers a concentration in biomedical engineering technology in which students focus on biomedical instrumentation systems, digital and microprocessor systems and communications systems.
“Engineering technology graduates are in great demand,” Nowlin said. “Even when the economy is down, graduates of our ET programs are sought after by employers. Every day, new employers are contacting the department in hopes of getting resumes from graduating seniors.”
To contribute to this scholarship opportunity, contact the Northwestern State Foundation at (318) 357-4414 or log onto northwesternalumni.com/manufacturingET. The page can also be accessed on the NSU Foundation homepage under the Make a Gift tab.