Partner Spotlight: Department of Transitional Assistance

Tinika Dottin, Full Engagement Worker, Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)


DTA assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA services one out of eight people in Massachusetts including working families, children, elders and people with disabilities. The agency offers a comprehensive system of programs and support to individuals and families including food, nutritional and economic assistance, economic, and employment guidance.   

Tinika’s job as an Engagement Worker is to connect families to resources and build partnerships with employment, training and education programs.

I believe that NECAT creates an amazing learning and professional atmosphere that allows students to dream big while being surrounded by positive peers and supportive staff, says Tinika. “Many of our DTA clients have been successful and secured employment because NECAT provided them with the best quality hands-on culinary education and job skills for a competitive workplace market. I am always inspired when I attend the NECAT graduations to see and hear the powerful success stories.”

Monica is one such success, an energetic and strong mother of six who worked closely with Tinika at DTA. Tinika’s team referred Monica to NECAT believing that she would excel in the program. Monica quickly proved her culinary skills and secured a job with great opportunities for growth before she graduated from NECAT last winter. Unfortunately, she was laid off during the pandemic and the closure of schools meant that she needed to be home to support her children and their remote learning.

Monica in NECATs kitchen.

But, as Tinika says, “I am inspired to see individuals and their families, like Monica’s, rise above barriers to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. ‘Keep Rising’ is my motto as it is inspired by Maya Angelou who eloquently taught us to keep rising above any challenge and circumstance.”

During the past several months, Monica has indeed continued to rise above challenges and circumstances to keep her family’s well-being intact. She has been able to relocate her family to a better living situation. She is seeking additional business and financial skills through NECAT’s network, while she formalizes a food service business that will allow her to work from home so she can support her children and earn a living.

We recognize that it takes resources and access to opportunity to “keep rising.” We are thankful for the ties we have with dedicated workers like Tinika who enable us to support our students, graduates, and our community – to rise above.