noob:: Parsing a PDF into usable data

Hey all,

Beginner here, working on planning stage for an employee management
app that I am about to start putting together. I was wondering if
someone could point me in the right direction:

The scheduling software spits out a PDF of the weekly schedule. This
is a text file, formatted in tables that look like it would take very
little work to interpret. I would like to figure out a way to parse it
into usable data for my application so the schedule does not have to
be entered by hand every time . . . but I don't know where to start.
Is there a way to do this? And if so, where would you recommend I
start focusing my research?

Google it: pdf to plain text

I did . . . I have been sorting through chintzy windows applications
and workarounds for a day and I have been having a difficult time
finding the answer I have been looking for. I was hoping for a
programmatic answer so I could teach myself a new skill . . . not to
mention build the workflow into my app. Part of the problem right now
is that there is a 12 step process getting the schedule into the
present day administration app . . . thought it would be great to
simplify that.

Despite the rails noob status, I am *usually* very google adept...
unless there is some other keyword that can be added to that search
string that will magically clear up the results, googling "pdf to
text" doesn't provide that kind of answer (unless I am missing
something).

thanks anyway