Northwest Louisiana Technical College is a post-secondary educational institution which was relocated in 2013 into new quarters off Interstate 20 in Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.
NWLTC was originally known as the Northwest Louisiana Vocational-Technical School, or Vo-Tech. From its founding in 1952 until the summer of 2013, it was located on Constable Street in Minden near the baseball park, Griffith Stadium, the parish fairgrounds, and the former Lowe Junior High School. Governor Earl Kemp Long added the Minden trade school to his campaign promises in the 1948 gubernatorial election against Robert F. Kennon and Sam H. Jones. Planning for the building began as early as 1946, when former educator J. E. Harper of Minden was president of the local Chamber of Commerce.The initial funding for the institution in the amount of $175,000 was guided through the legislature by the Webster Parish delegation, State Senator Drayton R. Boucher of Springhill and State Representative C.W. Thompson of Doyline.Louisiana Education Superintendent Shelby M. Jackson spoke in October 1953 at the dedication of the facility.
Jessie H. Rabb was named first director of the facility.From 1955 until his death at the age of sixty in 1967, Joe E. Oswalt, a native of Mississippi and former resident of Colorado, was the trade school director. Under his direction, a branch campus opened in Ringgold in Bienville Parish, and bus transportation was arranged to the school throughout Webster and Claiborne parishes.Upon Oswalt's death, Joe Lary of Minden assumed the directorship.
While technical education as well as technology have changed dramatically over those years, NLTC still offers various workforce training programs leading to high-demand jobs.The Minden campus is also the headquarters for Region 7 of the Louisiana Technical College system.
Programs offered are in the fields of (1) Business, (2) Health Services, (3) Information Technology, (4) Construction and Manufacturing, and (5) Transportation. In addition to the main campuses, other regional NWLTC branches are located in Mansfield, Natchitoches, Many, and Shreveport.
After its opening, the facility underwent several renovations, including a $361,000 expansion in 1966, when its enrollment was 170. A lunch room, science room, library, and business department were added to the campus at that time. A program for training Licensed Practical Nurses was instituted in 1967.
The idea of relocating the school to the Interstate 20 service road was pushed by former Representatives Everett Doerge and his successor-wife, Jean Doerge of Minden. By the time the relocation was completed, Jean Doerge had been succeeded in the House by Gene Reynolds of Dubberly. State Senator Robert Adley, who represents Bossier and Webster parishes, sponsored legislation known as SB 204, by which the state approved $251.6 million in financing and construction for twenty-nine projects at various technical college campuses across the state.A portion of the land for the college was donated by the real estate broker Richard Drew Carey (1934-2013), who developed nine subdivisions in the Minden area.
In April 2015, Douglas "Rick" Bateman, the NWLTC director, was named the sixth chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. In May 2012, Dianne Clark was named the interim director of the Minden campus for a one-year period to succeed Bateman. An employee since 1989, she had been working for the previous two years as dean of the NWLTC branch in Mansfield.
NWLTC now allows joint enrollment with Bossier Parish Community College.
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