Talent Link Partnership Announced



In November 2018, the Moline Foundation and Eastern Iowa Community College (EICC) announced a workforce development partnership, Talent Link. The Eastern Iowa Community College’s Intermediary Program, formerly QC Career Connections, and The Moline Foundation’s Career Cruising Network share common goals and purpose and also serve a common area that includes Rock Island County in Illinois and Scott County in Iowa. Through Talent Link, the organizations will work collaboratively to support work-based learning through services geared to empower young people to take charge of their career decisions, offer opportunities for them to explore the realities of careers and the workforce, and engage with business and industry.

Talent Link will utilize the Career Cruising system to capture information about work-based learning opportunities so that local students, schools and organizations can easily access connections that bring learning to the real world, and take students into business and industry. Businesses can sign up to offer activities such as classroom speaking, job shadowing, company tours, internships and other activities. In addition, Talent Link will help coordinate career-targeted activities and events geared at preparing students to make career decisions based on their own interests and skills and local workforce needs.

“The Talent Link Partnership will help strengthen the future workforce of the region,” said Joy Boruff, President/CEO of The Moline Foundation. “With state requirements for all schools in Iowa and Illinois to provide work-based learning, Talent Link will help meet the need for a coordinated outreach in the two-county region.”

“Collaborating with Career Cruising Network makes sense for all of our stakeholders,” said Dr. Ellen Kabat-Lensch, Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development, Eastern Iowa Community College. “Talent Link will strengthen the opportunities for students and local businesses in building our future.”

Since 2007, the Career Cruising Network (CCN) has helped connect 6th grade to post-secondary students with employers in nearly 600 career fields. The Moline Foundation has been the funder and coordinator of CCN since its beginning. A change in the CCN program was made earlier this year as Junior Achievement of the Heartland ceased serving as the Lead Program Agency, and CCN transitioned to The Moline Foundation. Susan Zelnio was then hired by The Moline Foundation to serve as the Program Director for the Career Cruising Network. Currently, CCN serves 61 schools and 36,000 students in Scott County, Iowa and Rock Island, Henry, Mercer & Stark Counties, Illinois.

The Intermediary Program with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges is part of a statewide intermediary network coordinated through the Iowa Department of Education. The program works to help prepare students for the workforce by connecting business and education through work-based learning activities for students and teachers. The Intermediary Program, coordinated by Kathy Pezley and Christine Caves, serves Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine, and Scott Counties. Eastern Iowa is also the recipient of a United Way grant dedicated to expanding services to Rock Island County. In addition, EICC’s program includes a Vocational Rehabilitation Services intermediary, Dustin DeWeerdt, who works with special education students at select schools within the region.

Kathy Pezley, Christine Caves, and Susan Zelnio will provide Talent Link services Scott County and Rock Island County jointly. Susan Zelnio and UTHS Area Career Center will continue to serve Henry, Mercer & Stark Counties in Illinois and Christine Caves & Kathy Pezley will serve in Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine Counties in Iowa.

For more information about Talent Link, call Susan Zelnio at 309.736.3800 or Paula Arends, 563.445.3200 x43340.