The UP Companies Hosting Thursday, March 12 Career Expo

On the heels of releasing its “Old Construction Road” song and music video that encourages younger generations to consider careers in construction, minority-owned The UP Companies (UPCO) has planned a  Career Expo this week to recruit the next generation of workers and guide them on the “road” to success.

The UPCO Career Expo is on the schedule for 4-6 p.m., Thursday, March 12, 2020 at UPCO’s offices. The office is at 2060 Craigshire Road, St. Louis, MO 63146. Representatives from UPCO’s distinct business units – Power UP electrical contractors, Square UP builders and Hustle UP general laborers, will be in attendance. Also in attendance, a representative from the STL Construction Career Center. This is a branch of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri’s (AGCMO) Education Initiative. These folks are available for those who may have a general interest in the industry but aren’t sure which direction to take.

Participants are encouraged to bring their resume if they have one, or they can pre-apply online at

Why “Old Construction Road”?

The current state of the construction industry was one of the key motivators behind UPCO releasing a parody song and music video of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. While the construction industry may be booming and the need for new buildings and structures has increased, the workforce needed to complete those projects has decreased considerably. In fact, workforce shortages remain one of the single most significant threats to the construction industry today.

A significant part of the problem is the lack of interest from younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Z. There is less interest to work in construction despite the surplus of well-paying positions and low-cost or free education and training. In many high schools and colleges around the U.S., there is an emphasis on four-year degrees and white-collar jobs over skilled labor training. In some cases, they cut certain vocational programs altogether. A staggering 80% of U.S. construction firms are having trouble hiring talent. Predictions also show that the trend will worsen.

Workforce shortage

UPCO has felt the effects of the workforce shortage on its own projects. The company wanted to find a unique way to reach the next generation of workers through its video and song. St. Louis native and international hip hop recording artist Chingy organized the recording session for “Old Construction Road” as well as lent his vocal talents to a key verse in the song. UPCO owner Michael Kennedy, Jr. sings several verses. Square UP employee Cornelius Blanks sing the hook and chorus. A St. Louis-based video production company, Unbridled Media productd the music video featuring the trio and other UPCO employees. They then released it to the public on Dec. 20, 2019. To date, the video has received over 17,000 views on YouTube.

Hosting a Career Expo and educating this generation is the next step in that process.

“We wanted to create awareness among potential employees, particularly minorities, that we are the premier destination for careers and to motivate them to consider working for us,” said Kennedy. “The construction industry offers tremendous career opportunities and benefits to anyone who likes to see the fruits of their labor and is willing to put in the effort to succeed. We have the jobs available.”

For more information about the Career Expo and a career in construction, visit The UP Companies at, AGCMO at, and Build Your Future – Build Missouri at

About The UP Companies

The UP Companies (UPCO) is one of the region’s largest full-service MBE-certified contracting companies. They offer all-inclusive and convenient solutions for general contractors, owners and facilities management professionals. For almost a decade, UPCO has focused on its mission of Building UP Communities Through Innovation, Diversity, and Integrity, providing superior design and contracting services through each of its distinct business units—Power UP, Square UP and Hustle UP. Power UP Electrical Contractors is one of the largest minority-owned, full-service electrical contractors in the St. Louis region. They are a leader in electrical and technology systems design. They also lead the way in construction, installation and maintenance serving the commercial, residential, industrial and institutional marketplaces.

Square UP Builders is one of the region’s largest full-service carpentry contractors. They specialize in high-quality rough and finish carpentry and drywall services for the commercial, residential, industrial, institutional and healthcare markets. Hustle UP has the certification as being a minority-owned business. The company offers general labor, selective demolition, general clean up, site maintenance and also final cleaning services. Additionally, it offers a highly diverse and extremely productive union workforce. The workforce are fit tested, safety-trained. They also live up to The UP Companies’ name, ensuring timely and successful completion of construction projects. For more information, either go to or call 314.865.3888.

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