17 Haitian migrants graduate from Boston culinary school, a pilot program to help find work

Derismond Germinal, 30 years old, who arrived in Boston last December gets a graduation certificate and a medallion from NECAT – the New England Culinary Arts Training program.

“He’s a good cook too,” said Chef Michelene Desormeau, an instructor at the school.

Germoinal is thrilled. He told us through a translator, “The fact I’m graduating today and I faced a lot of difficulty to get here,” he said.

Derismond is one of 17 migrants. All of them arrived in December of 2023 and graduated Thursday night.

This pilot program is aimed at helping the large number of Haitian migrants and it is taught by a Haitian immigrant, Chef Michelene Desormeau. She is now the owner of a successful catering business called Breez that is based in Boston. She also attended NECAT and that’s how she got her start in the culinary world.

“Those people came from Haiti and arrived here with almost nothing,” she said.

Desormeau knows firsthand the struggles and the dreams these immigrants have. She says now those dreams can come true.

“Now having an education where they can go and work somewhere else and make their own money and take care of their family, that’s really great,” said Desormeau.

Each of these graduates sincerely thankful, some emotional. Many made harrowing trips to get to the U.S.

Germinal traveled through ten countries with his wife and two year old daughter. They arrived in Boston sleeping at Logan Airport for eight nights and then were placed in a shelter in Cambridge where they still live.

He works two jobs in addition to going to school and he says this opportunity is the American dream come true for his family.

“So today is a joy for me I feel happy because I am graduating in the culinary art industry,” said Germinal.

He hopes now to find a place to rent for his family and to eventually become a manager in a restaurant.

The State Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development attended the graduation saying so far through programs like this 1,100 migrants have found jobs in Massachusetts.

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