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Congratulations to our first group of graduates through Talent Connect’s partnership with Pedestal Foods at Lindenwood University.

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Talent Connect Graduates First Class of Trainees Through A New Partnership with Pedestal Foods


WHAT: Talent Connect, a project of UCP Heartland, has graduated another class of 6 trainees with disabilities. This is the first class completing the 12 week program at Pedestal Foods at Lindenwood University.  Talent Connect has graduated 18 trainees since the inception of the program in March 2015.

WHO: Talent Connect is an innovative training-to-employment program in the hotel/hospitality industry, designed to provide individuals with disabilities, an opportunity for employer-led on-the-job training and certification.

  • 18 trainee graduates from the St. Louis/St. Charles area
  • Nancy Tinker, Director of Dining Services, Pedestal Foods-Lindenwood University
  • Joe Scherer, Director of Operations, Pedestal Foods
  • Brenda Wrench, President/CEO, UCP Heartland
  • Monica Edmonds, Co-Director, Employment Resources, UCP Heartland
  • Richard Coleman, Co-Director, Employment Resources, UCP Heartland
  • Joe Dennehy, Project Manager – Talent Connect, a project of UCP Heartland

WHEN: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WHERE: Lindenwood University

WHY: Talent Connect works to decrease barriers to employment for people with disabilities by providing on the job training the hotel and hospitality industry. Talent Connect is an employer led training program that operates with the on site support of our dedicated training staff. The first class of trainees began at the Hyatt on March 20, 2015 and graduated from the program June 16, 2015. All 7 trainees were offered jobs at the Hyatt at the completion of the training program. Talent Connect was selected as the first ever recipient of a 100 Percent Wine grant due to the innovative nature of the program and its early success with the Hyatt Regency.

About Talent Connect:

Talent Connect is a project of United Cerebral Palsy Heartland. Founded in 1953, UCP Heartland is a CARF accredited, United Way organization and BBB approved charity. Talent Connect launched in October 2014
with funding from a private family foundation and is a collaborative project with the Center for Head Injury Services. UCP Heartland operates in the hotel and hospitality industry, while the Center runs a similar program in the manufacturing and distribution sector.

About Pedestal Foods:

Pedestal Foods is an on-site dining services company serving clients in the space of K-12 foodservice, as well as on-campus dining for universities and colleges, and senior living dining. The company, which was founded in 2001 has original roots in higher education and offers quality programs that are uniquely customized for the needs of each facility in which they serve.

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