iCater Job Training Program

The iCater Job Training Program provides culinary training to our trainees as they build a pathway to self-sufficiency within our supportive community. We have partnered with more than 1,300 trainees since the program was founded in 1991.

Our participants come to us from diverse backgrounds and different life experiences. iCater’s goal to engage and support our trainees as they build skills and resilience through work experience for a successful return to employment, housing and stability.

iCater’s 24-week Job Training Program offers paid training and free workshops as trainees cultivate expertise and competencies in the culinary field. Participants graduate having accessed a multitude of opportunities: hands-on experience, ServSafe certification, as well as training in mindfulness, digital and financial Literacy, and a variety of employment-related programs.

How It Works

    To enroll in the iCater Job Training Program you must be referred by a case manager, probation officer, or other referral specialist.  A new cohort starts every eight weeks.  To join us, connect with us today!
    Trainees in the iCater Job Training Program establish professional skills in preparation for careers in hospitality and the food service industry. Dozens of our graduates have been hired by companies across the Greater Boston area, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals and supermarkets. Employers include Roche Bros., Marriott Hotels, Boston Medical Center, SnapChef, and more industry partners.
    While enrolled in the iCater Job Training Program, participants develop a robust set of vocational and specialized skills in preparation for a successful return to employment. Trainees attend classes such as ServSafe, Mindfulness, Digital and Financial Literacy, and work with experts in the culinary industry through the Visiting Chefs Series (VCS), where the area’s professional chefs demonstrate a variety of food preparation techniques.

Trainee Spotlight


Steve and his wife were living and working in Lynn when the bank foreclosed on their house. They sought out emergency housing and were placed in Holyoke, a four-hour commute to his job of ten years. With no luck finding a job closer to home, his case worker referred him to iCater. Working with iCater’s employment and stabilization specialists while being employed in the iCater main kitchen, Steve developed resources for both job hunting and building confidence. After working in the iCater main kitchen, Steve moved up to work with the staff café, learning customer service skills in a restaurant-like setting. Steve’s time with iCater ended with his graduation from the program. He secured a permanent position with Hebrew SeniorLife as a second cook and is appreciative of the experiences he’s had with iCater. “Finding a team of people who get as much joy seeing you succeed as you do… to see they’re just as enthused and excited as I am about stepping into my new career as I am or my wife is… that says a lot about the character of people that are here,” Steve says. “You have this team of people behind you that aren’t just doing it because it’s their job. They’re doing it because they care. They want to see you succeed and be just as happy as you are.”

Read More »

Skills Trainees Will Learn

Culinary Skills

Trainees learn, practice, and fortify a variety of culinary techniques. Working hands-on alongside our seasoned chefs, trainees pick up a sense of familiarity and confidence around the kitchen and learn how to operate a variety of kitchen equipment. Expert chefs from around Boston also come in to share their expertise with trainees through Visiting Chef demonstrations every week. Trainees take the abundance of hard skills they develop into the culinary sector as competitive job candidates.

Digital Literacy

Trainees build a digital understanding of the modern professional world. Familiarizing themselves with email, word processing, cloud storage, search engines, LinkedIn and more, trainees bolster their computer skills while learning relevant job-hunting skills. Participants craft resumes and cover letters, utilize employment search engines, and discover their digital footprint. The core value of this class lies in helping trainees shed the intimidation of a rapidly digitizing job market and embrace an open, comprehensive digital education at their own pace.

Financial Literacy and Professionalism

This volunteer-run program provides a deeper understanding of personal finance and professionalism in the workplace. Make Your Change Count works with participants to encourage sustainability in these areas. Participants explore how to run a budget, navigate the modern banking system, and manage their credit. Utilizing these skills, trainees learn how to sustain their livelihood for years to come.


The Engage Mindfulness Institute In Mindfulness class, trainees cultivate a growth mindset for both their personal and professional lives. Program participants learn strategies to increase resiliency through a series of tools, including breathing techniques, psychological models, and an awareness of personal thought patterns. Throughout the course, trainees engage limiting core beliefs as they embrace adaptability and growth in the workplace and beyond.

ServSafe Certification

Each of our trainees has the opportunity to earn their ServSafe Food Handler’s Certification, recognized and valued across the food service industry. Our executive chef teaches the ServSafe course over an 8-week period. Trainees collaborate with our chefs in the classroom and the kitchen, gaining an extensive comprehension of food handling skills to ensure the safest kitchen practices.

Work Readiness

Trainees develop themselves as professionals and team players. The Job Readiness workshops equip trainees with a wide variety of pragmatic professional skills highly valued in our job market today. Building upon a robust set of collaborative skills, trainees learn and exercise strategies in conflict resolution, cultural competency, and goal-setting.

Want To Learn More?

Join us in making an impact today.

Close Menu