ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) --A new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) headquarters is coming to St. Louis, but there is a lack of teachers who could give students the skills they need to get there.
The hope is to place new STEM teachers in North City schools where the new NGA headquarters will be.
Mother of two Ashley Palmer lives in North City where the new NGA headquarters are moving to.
"My youngest has already stated he wants to be a scientist," Palmer said.
She hopes living near a facility like the NGA will encourage her son to believe his dreams can become a reality.
However, right now in St. Louis, there aren't enough teachers trained in STEM or science, technology, engineering and math.
"Here at Webster University, only 5 percent of our teaching candidates go into STEM fields," Basiyer Rodney said. Rodney is the chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Webster University.
Webster was just awarded a $125,000 grant to recruit high school and community college students to become trained STEM teachers. The first year the money will go towards working with local high schools and community colleges for recruitment planning, including partnerships with the Ritenour School District and St. Louis Community College. A year from now, Webster Univeristy will apply for another grant to award scholarships to prospective students to train to become STEM teachers. Scholarships will start at $10,000.
Rodney says one of the main goals of the recruitment process is to attract students for the scholarships with diverse backgrounds and then place them at schools in diverse communities, especially North City, where the NGA site is located. Rodney says the purpose is to engage North City students in science and encourage them to want to high-paying, high demand careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Construction at the NGA site is expected to start at the end of 2019.