A group of UCP Heartland and Hyatt Regency staff met at the downtown Hyatt with KMOV Channel 4 to show off an outstanding Employment Resource Program, and introduced Keith Washington, UCP Heartland program participant and Hyatt Regency Steward. Keith has been working with UCPH’s Employment Resources for two years, and has been named “Employee of the Month,” twice in that time at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.
“We had a great opportunity today to see a program in action that makes St. Louis a better place,” Claire Kellett, KMOV Anchorperson said. “Keith Washington works at Hyatt Regency and lives with a disability. Thanks to UCP Heartland Employment Resources, Keith holds down a job and lives on his own. The program helps about 200 other people per year learn skills and work in the hotel and food industries and at retail businesses. It allows them independence that they never had before.”
Casey Breslin, Employment Coach with UCP’s Employment Resources and program participant Keith Washington spoke together on camera. “Since Keith started working here, “Casey said, “he was able to move out of his brother’s apartment and now has his own apartment. He gets himself to work…even walks when it’s nice enough, right Keith?” Keith smiled and agreed “You’ve really grown a lot as a person!” Smiling broadly, Keith nodded his head, saying, “Yes…I’ve really grown.”
Describing the positive outcomes of this program, Joe Finnerty, UCP Heartland Project Manager said, “Keith never had a job before in his life. Now he has a job for the rest of his life,”
“It’s no accident that we have found an excellent partner,” in UCP Heartland Employment Resources, Tim Combs, Hyatt Regency Director of H.R. said. “We cannot be more pleased with their support staff and recruiting expertise geared toward the hospitality industry.”
“Lots of smiles all round,” KMOV’s Claire Kellett said, “especially from Keith.” Kellett summarized, “UCP Heartland’s programs help people with a spectrum of disabilities, physical, developmental and behavioral.”
About UCPH’s Employment program, Judy Grainger, VP of Programs for UCP Heartland said, “Work is so important for our program participants. In addition to a paycheck, it brings a culture of acceptance and belonging.” For the business, Grainger said, “The employer gets a really great employee that’s excited about coming to work, and like Keith, everybody loves.”