When Nate received the news that Firebox was shuttering it was devastating. He had been working at Firebox as a Jr. Sous Chef for over a year after graduating from our culinary job training program.

“It really broke my heart,” he said, “I love the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the sense of family I had working at Firebox. I miss that place so much.”

Like many, the pandemic took an emotional and financial toll on Nate. He had just moved out of his mother’s house and into his first apartment right when the statewide lockdown began due to COVID-19. On top of that, he had learned the exciting news that he is going to be a parent!

“It was a bittersweet moment. I was excited about being on my own and now had to figure out how I was going to pay the bills, but I knew I had to keep the faith that something good was coming my way and it did,” he said.

When he received a call from Carla, our Workforce Development Trainee Support & Employment Navigator, about a job opportunity at the University of Hartford his hope was restored. “Hearing from Carla was a blessing. I was trying on my own to find a job but with her help it really pushed my efforts along,” he said.

After almost six months without a job, he is now working at the University of Hartford as a cook. “I’m really enjoying my new job. It pays great and I get to be back in the kitchen doing what I love – cooking. I trusted the universe that something good was coming and it did, he said.

“I’m looking forward to see what’s in store for me but most especially I am excited about meeting my kid. That will be the highlight of 2021 for me and my motivation to keep working hard and not lose hope even when it gets hard.”