Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Completion of the new NGA West complex in north St. Louis is still at least five years away, but officials hosting a day-long job expo Monday said they need a lot of construction workers on board as soon as possible.

“There’s a lot of large projects on the forefront,” VP of Operations for McCarthy Building Companies Jeff Boyer says. “Centene, Monsanto, SSM is building a new hospital. We’ve got BJC with another large project looming.”

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that hiring for construction laborers and helpers will grow at least 13 percent by the year 2024.

That would be faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations.

nga2 NGA West Spearheads Growing St. Louis Construction Boom

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

In the post-Recession era there’s been a decreasing work base in the construction industry nationally, according to Russell Halliday, Program Manager for “Project Connect.”

“So here’s an opportunity to say ‘Okay, how do we get local people involved in rebuilding St. Louis?'” Halliday says. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The event also gave KMOX News the chance to get an update from Halliday on the status of the NGA West project.

“We are in the process right now of completing, probably by the end of this week, all of the residential demolitions,” he explained. “All of the utilities are pretty much laid out now, rerouted around the site. Streets have been vacated.”

More than 135 buildings have been demolished to make way for the new site.

The job expo was necessary, because that effort alone will need a minimum of 1,300 workers to complete by the year 2022.

“St. Louis is an extremely busy construction market right now,” Boyer says. “And the outlook over the next five to 10 years is very positive with a lot of large projects. It’s a really good time for individuals to be in the industry.”

The event was held at the former Rhema Church located at 2233 Cass Avenue – now serving as the temporary construction headquarters for the NGA West project.

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