DOWNTOWN – The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is diving head-first into the city’s job market. Slated to open in late 2019, the aquarium hosted its first job fair this week.
Hundreds of hopefuls made their way to the national historic landmark, eager for a chance to begin a new career in its highly anticipated new addition.
In preparation for the arrival of 13,000 aquatic animals that will call the two-story, 120,000-square-foot facility home, the aquarium hosted the job fair in search of local talent that will enhance guests’ experience.
Job seekers lined up by the hundreds Monday morning for one-on-one job interviews in person. A second session was held in the evening for applicants who may have been working during the day.
But according to a hotel employee, hopefuls had been lined up since 8:30 that morning, eager to snag a position.
Tami Brown, executive director of the St. Louis Aquarium, explained, “We eventually had to set a 10-minute time limit on interviews because there are so many people here and we want to be able to talk to everybody.”
Before arriving at the fair, applicants were given the chance to apply online. Paper applications were available on-site as well for those who may not have had the chance to apply beforehand.
Open positions include guest experience attendant, biologist, diver, photography associate, housekeeping, food preparation and others.
“We really are looking for people who are bubbly and enthusiastic and just really want to make a connection with guests,” Brown said.
Applicants were advised to dress in business casual attire and to bring along a copy of their resume, if possible.
“We don’t really care if you know about fish or not, because we can teach you about that,” she went on to say, referring specifically to applicants interested in working in guest experiences.
“The enthusiasm that St. Louis is showing for the aquarium in every single way but particularly in looking at this room today is overwhelming. We’re just so grateful for that response,” Brown added.
Kalah Collins, 22, of north St. Louis County was one of the dozens of people waiting in line at the job fair.
“I’m a biology student at Webster University and I heard about it, so I was like, ‘I might as well go for it,’” Collins said.
As a senior, Collins acknowledged that if hired, she hoped to gain a lot of hands-on experience and even secure a few internships relevant to her major.
“I just like that it’s something new coming to St. Louis,” she said.
She also said the application process was a breeze.
Mayghen Mugele, 21, is also a student at Webster University studying biology.
Mugele, of New Baden, Ill., said that when she learned that the aquarium would be hosting a job fair, she was eager to apply.
“I would love to be a marine biologist, that’s really my goal, so this is right up my alley. I’ve been trying to online apply since they opened it, like, months ago,” she said.
“I’m so excited for it to come. I think it’s a great thing for St. Louis. I’d love to be apart of it,” Mugele said.
With just one year of school left, Mugele also hopes to get some real-world experience with a job at the aquarium.
“It was too easy to get all of the information for us to not come and take advantage of it and get our foot in the door,” she added.
An exact date for the grand opening of the $187 million dollar entertainment complex, which is currently still under construction, has yet to be announced.