The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) knew when it announced its new $1.7 billion western headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, that it was investing in the future of Missouri talent, and now it has done just that.
Company officials recently announced they had hired the first eight employees through a partnership with LaunchCode, a non-profit organization based in St. Louis that works with businesses to set up apprenticeships in technology for talented people who lack the traditional IT credentials. Additionally, NGA is launching a K-12 outreach program that emphasizes skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that students will need to someday work at NGA West.
“Right now in the St. Louis area — studying in classrooms, experimenting in labs and learning teamwork on athletic fields — are future analysts, cartographers, scientists and coders of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” said Cardillo. “They may not know it yet but we see that potential, that future reality, and we want to help them discover NGA.”
NGA hopes to add about 600 more employees to the agency’s current staff of about 3,100 when the new facility opens in 2024.
“At the heart of this outreach is an emphasis on science, technology, math, geospatial information systems and geographic literacy,” said NGA Director Robert Cardillo. “Now given that we plan to open the campus in 2024, our interns that summer are in seventh grade today, and let’s not wait ’til then to meet one another.”
Additionally, the agency has partnered with area schools to launch a new initiative called GeoPlunge, a geography tournament that brings together elementary school teams from throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, with the goal of getting students excited about geographic literacy.
“Our initial focus is at the elementary level,” said Cardillo. “There we’ll promote geographic literacy, which is knowing and understanding where people, places and things are on a map and how they relate to each other. Geographic literacy is the foundation needed to master the skills that NGA focuses on for middle school and high school levels, STEM education, geospatial science and geographic information systems.”
NGA’s new site, just north of downtown, is conveniently located adjacent to a variety of innovative and cultural areas. The Cortex Innovation Community and Washington Avenue, both vibrant startup and innovation districts, are to its south and west, and NGA Director Robert Cardillo named Cortex as a key reason the new NGA West will remain in St. Louis.
“This agency is proud to have been part of St. Louis for seven decades,” said Cardillo. “That commitment means we won’t be just another walled-off, federal building — we will be out engaging with communities, interacting with tech entrepreneurs, exchanging knowledge and ideas with innovators, and serving as a magnet to attract the region’s best talent.”
For more information on Missouri talent, contact Steve Johnson, CEO of Missouri Partnership, at 314.725.2688 or via our contact form, with any questions you might have, and learn how Missouri Partnership can help with your business expansion and investment needs.