NECAT Programs

NECAT’s 14- week training program emphasizes culinary skills, life skills and career readiness equally, so that students graduate with culinary competencies, self-confidence and employment savvy. The ultimate goal is to help graduates envision a new future for themselves and understand the actions needed to move their lives forward. Additionally, with a sophisticated network of social service partners, we’re able to connect our participants to a wide range of supportive services, like helping them navigate the application processes and documentation required to be eligible for subsidized housing and other government benefits.

NECAT provides its culinary job training curriculum at three locations: the Boston Training Center; Suffolk County House of Correction and at the East Boston YMCA.

Our Locations

Boston Training Center

23 Bradston Street, Boston, MA
(617) 442-3600
Next cohort start date: May 13, 2024

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East Boston YMCA Training Center

54 Ashley Street, East Boston, MA
(617) 418-7331

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Behind The Walls Training

Suffolk County House of Correction, 20 Bradston Street, Boston, MA

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Culinary Training

NECAT’s curriculum is designed to prepare students to meet the needs of employers looking for qualified Cooks, Prep Cooks and Line Cooks. The lessons are designed to accommodate all learning styles and address the challenges our adult learners often face when re-acclimating to a school setting. Our engaging and experiential 14-week curriculum teaches the full range of technical and “soft” skills required by employers.

Students spend the first half of the program primarily in the classroom and cold lab observing chef demos, learning food science, studying for and taking their ServSafe exams and practicing knife cuts. Students spend the second six weeks in the kitchen, implementing their training through hands on lessons, cooking and serving lunch every day, supporting NECAT’s catering activities and completing at least one off-site culinary stages (working a shift in a professional kitchen as a form of interview) to practice their skills in a real-world setting and to test out different work environments before selecting their permanent jobs.


NECAT’s Wellness curriculum focuses on five areas of wellbeing: emotional, occupational, financial, social and mindfulness. We have come to understand that wellness is based on a positive state of mind and is a continuous process. Only with a strong emotional foundation in place will NECAT students truly have an equal opportunity to succeed in their jobs and in life.

Career Readiness

The goal of Career Readiness is to prepare students to be successful in the workplace. That’s NECAT’s mission, so lessons are cross-functionally embedded in the curriculum. Specifically, students learn to write a resume and cover letter, interview and understand today’s expectations for employment. Employers visit regularly to meet with students, often offering employment on the spot. Digital literacy is stressed as most employment communications are done on-line. Students and alumni meet regularly with employment counselors to strategize about the right job placement based on the working environment and graduate’s skill level and interest.

Job Placement

NECAT has relationships with chefs and hiring managers at major hotels, healthcare providers and restaurant chains in the Greater Boston area as well as many smaller independent restaurants, senior living facilities and catering companies. During the program, the team works with interested students to secure stages, short-term opportunities to work in a professional kitchen to test their skills and see if an employer is a good match before accepting a position. Additionally, NECAT works with employers to eliminate hiring policies that discriminate against formerly incarcerated people. About a third of NECAT’s students are justice involved, so identifying non-prejudicial employers is a priority.


Eligibility requirements

  • Do you have 14 weeks to commit to a 30 hour per week training program?
  • Are you legally able to work in the United States?
  • Are you ready to begin a career in the foodservice industry?
  • Do you meet our income eligibility requirements?

Information Sessions

Attend an upcoming information session at our training center. Information sessions are conducted every Tuesday 9:30AM or by appointment. Call Elise Brandwein 857-289-1019.

Start The Process Now

Attend an Info Session! We require all interested students to attend an Info Session. These are held every Tuesday at 9:30AM at our training center at 23 Bradston Street, 2R. No RSVP is necessary. Please contact Elise Brandwein at or 857-289-1019 with any questions. All candidates will need to participate in a two-step application process, which begins with the Info Session.

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