On January 3rd, just days into the new year, NECAT celebrated with the graduation of 17 of its trainees. The 32nd cohort to complete their Culinary Arts Job Training at our Boston center proudly welcomed Mayor Martin J. Walsh as their commencement speaker. Walsh was joined by Senator Nick Collins of the First Suffolk district, who also gave heartwarming remarks.
“All of you should be very proud of your accomplishment here today,” Mayor Walsh told the graduates. “Some of you have overcome big challenges to make it to this point. Life’s not easy… some people have bigger struggles than others. The struggles and challenges that you’ve had to overcome to get to this particular moment in time is something that’s really important. You’re resilient. You’re talented. And you’ve developed your skills while you’ve been here….you’ve worked hard and you’re all ready to take the next step.”
Walsh also praised Senator Collins for his hard work advocating to get NECAT included in the FY2020 State Budget. “I want to give a shout out to Senator Nick Collins… Nick is certainly a person who fights hard for his district, but he also fights hard for programs that make a difference. And his fight, fighting for this program… I don’t know if anyone understands the importance or how hard that actually is to do, but I want to commend Nick Collins and his office for the great work they did in getting this (NECAT’s program) into the budget.”
Walsh then shared his personal journey with the audience, which included families, friends and supporters of graduates. He spoke of his upbringing as the son of immigrants, growing up just miles away from NECAT, about his personal struggle with alcohol and how he found the determination to find sobriety and follow his dreams to get an education.
It was a celebratory start to the New Year and a proud send off for our grads. Already, they have started new careers with employers including Sodexo, NewBridge on the Charles, Haley House, and Spaulding Rehab.