Facing Unprecedented

One year ago, the hospitality industry was one of the largest and fastest growing industries in greater Boston, with demand for workers far outpacing supply. Today’s headlines paint a very different picture with restaurant closures and unemployment skyrocketing. So why is NECAT still open and training?  The poverty gap that pre-dated the pandemic is deepening; people of color have been disproportionately affected and face even greater barriers to accessing aid, and as physical and mental health decline, substance use goes up. We firmly believe we can contribute to the economic and emotional recovery of adults through our occupational training.

Lifting Up Our

When you support NECAT, you’re not only supporting the most vulnerable job seekers, you’re also helping hard hit food service employers significantly reduce one major cost: the sourcing of workers. Essential food service jobs are still out there – in hospitals, care facilities and in supermarkets where prepared meals are made. These are the jobs that our employer partners are looking to NECAT and its network of qualified graduates to step in and fill.

Beating the Employment Odds During a Pandemic

Finding a job during a pandemic isn’t easy. But with the right training and a willingness to adjust one’s expectations, it can happen. Recent NECAT graduate, Elly did just that. “I applied to every single culinary job I could find,” she tells us and eventually landed the role of kitchen manager at a local Chipotle. “This is my time to build my experience. I’m working through this pandemic and I’m going to be ready for the perfect job when the time comes.” We know that with her NECAT training and her determined energy, Elly’s time will come soon enough.

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COVID Statement

NECAT is the only adult culinary training program that opened its doors to in-person learning—and we did so on July 6 to continue to provide opportunity, stability and hope to those most affected by the pandemic.

While the pandemic shuttered many service providers essential to helping these individuals rejoin the workforce, NECAT has remained active and engaged with its students. Between March and June, we provided virtual job training and counseling to 68 students; offered $25,000 in emergency relief grants; provided cellphones, laptops and internet hot spots to those who needed them. In July, we pivoted back to in-person learning and have since trained 124 adults trying to get their lives back on track. Our training includes culinary fundamentals, computer literacy, job counseling and placement service. Most important, we offer a safe haven today and a threshold on which to balance hope with a plan for tomorrow.


We want to thank you for the incredible work you do every day. You and your colleagues are on the frontline of this crisis and helping the most vulnerable in our community. We are so appreciative of your dedication to this work and the sacrifices you are making.

- Rowland Foundation


As we continue to monitor the developments around COVID-19, we are more grateful than ever for you and the work you do every day to improve the lives of our community’s most vulnerable residents. We are inspired by the dedication and resiliency you’ve exhibited to pivot in response to the changing needs of your clients.

- State Street Foundation


I’m in a recovery program, fighting for my life and my future. My sobriety is the most important personal issue I deal with every day. Now that I’m ready to face the world, I believe that a job as a professional cook is something I can really do well and for a long time. I’m thankful that NECAT reopened so I could begin my official training as a cook, and find a job that will bring me personal and professional satisfaction—and joy.

- L., graduate of Cohort 36

Give the Gift of a Stable Future

NECAT serves a population with complex life challenges – most of our students experience a combination of homelessness, prior incarceration, substance use recovery and are living at extremely low-income levels. With your support, we can give these individuals a fighting chance during this most difficult of times. You can help them find a path to economic security and a rewarding career for years to come.