ST. LOUIS – The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is opening its new, $1.7 billion headquarters in north St. Louis in 2025. The state of Missouri is spending millions in tax dollars on a deal that, hopefully, will provide young people a new future with the spy agency.
The NGA is not the easiest place to land a job, especially for the underserved and minority youngsters who may not have the educational credentials. That’s where a new program, Gateway Global, comes in. It will pave the way for youngsters, ages 16 to 18, to receive training for jobs with not only NGA, but other organizations like Homeland Security and emergency response.
Gateway Global is a bridge between the high school diploma and higher education for high-tech jobs.
Zekita Armstrong Asuquo, CEO of Gateway Global, said the organization’s mainly based in the St. Louis area for now, but she hopes it will expand nationwide. The organization is on an $8 million fundraising campaign. With the state contributing $5 million in taxpayer dollars, the organization is looking to raise another $3 million from private business.
Approximately 100 young people are in the program right now, 80 of whom are from the St. Louis area.
At present, Gateway Global is running out of a temporary facility. Asuquo said they’re in the process of converting an old building in north St. Louis as a permanent headquarters. They’ll use $3.5 million in state funding to renovate the building, with classrooms and training facilities.
The NGA sent a statement to FOX 2 about the value of Gateway Global and similar programs:
NGA is working hand-in-hand with community leaders, academia, and industry to help build a diverse talent pipeline across all populations and ages. We want to get kids excited early about the possibilities of a geospatial career, so they can be a part of St. Louis’ growing ecosystem in the future.