ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis-based workforce development nonprofit is plotting a $25 million project to develop a geospatial and information technology training campus in north St. Louis.
Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance Academies Inc. (GGAYBA) said it hopes to begin work on the development in early 2022. Its proposed Geospatial & IT Workforce and Apprenticeship Campus (GIWAC) is slated to spread across three buildings located in the city of St. Louis' Hyde Park and Old North neighborhoods.
Current plans for the project call for redeveloping two buildings in Hyde Park to create a workforce development and job training hub for GGAYBA’s programming. The Old North component of the campus calls for building a two-story, 36,000-square-foot geospatial simulation theater to offer experiential learning opportunities.
The project is the brainchild of GGAYBA, a workforce development organization focused on providing education and workforce development initiatives in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) fields. The nonprofit says it's the only group in the U.S. that has been accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation to "train and credential in geospatial intelligence at the high school level."
While GGAYBA began with a focus on providing geospatial training to high school students, Chair and President Zekita Armstrong Asuquo said the nonprofit has experienced inbound interest in expanding its reach.
“Now we are opening up to young adults that are transitioning and looking for more skills so they can get higher pay,” she said.
Armstrong Asuquo said the GIWAC project would provide the organization with a central hub where individuals can access training and also connect with government, higher education and industry partners. She said the facilities also could help the nonprofit meet its ambition to expand nationally.
Both components of GIWAC would be located within close proximity to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.7 billion western headquarters, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2025. Armstrong Asuquo said the new training campus facilities were chosen because of their closeness to NGA as well as their ability to provide training to individuals in St. Louis neighborhoods that have been historically underserved.
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