Spotlight: BEST’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Our community of clients, staff members, Board of Directors, employer partners, funders, community partners, and Local 26 have led BEST to this moment. BEST began by offering one beginner level English class, one U.S. Citizenship preparation class, and the On-Call Banquet Server Program. By the end of the fiscal year we will have offered our Local 26 members 45 education classes and 56 skills training and certification classes. We will have served 108 job seekers through our housekeeping pre-apprenticeship & apprenticeship program and direct career coaching and placement services serving an additional 48. And that’s not all, as of April 2024, we are adding a Culinary Training Program to our menu of services.

So what is yet to come? So much! Partnerships, new program development, program expansion, and most exciting a new training center in the heart of Boston! By early next year, BEST along with other Local 26 benefit providers will be housed in the new Local 26 building in Bay Village. Think of it as a one-stop shop where Local 26 members can access any of their benefit providers, including BEST.

At BEST we love anniversaries and we are grateful to share this one with you. We love that they remind you where you’ve been and they give you great hope for the future. We love being in the company of the BEST hotel workers in the city. They are not only the future of BEST but of the industry. Please join us in celebrating them and the next twenty years. Cheers!

“In 1988, Local 26 President Dominic Bozzato pushed hotel employers hard to establish a training fund. He did this primarily because he saw how our membership was changing. With more and more first-generation immigrants entering the hotel workforce, the Union’s leadership saw a need for English-language training so our members could move up the ranks, better serve our guests, and most importantly understand our Union contract.

Over the years and many contracts, Local 26 negotiated more money into our training fund. The Union also realized that there was a demand for more kinds of training specific to our workforce and industry. This demand was so great and specialized that we needed to establish an independent training center with the needs of hotel workers at its core. In 2004, Local 26 President Janice Loux helped establish BEST as an organization dedicated to advancing the careers of our members in the hospitality industry. In the last 20 years BEST has grown in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 26, the hospitality industry, and city, state, and federal governments to become a best-in-class training center.

What I am most proud of when I think about BEST is that they think of our members and the workers in our industry as whole human beings, not just laborers for hotels. By offering classes like technology, U.S. Citizenship Preparation, English, and CPR, BEST helps our members and their families better themselves as citizens of our communities.” Carlos Aramayo, UNITE HERE Local 26 President

Spotlight: BEST receives a $500K Grant from Commonwealth Corporation


Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $3.5 Million in New Grants to Eliminate Barriers to Employment, Increase Access to High-Quality Job Training Grants to support job training initiatives across the state, including Lawrence, Holyoke, Boston, and Wakefield

ANDOVER – The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced $3.5 million new Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants for seven initiatives across the state. The grants, funded through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) and distributed by the Commonwealth Corporation, aim to increase access to well-paying jobs for residents facing employment barriers and improve the competitive stature of Massachusetts businesses by enhancing worker skills and productivity.

Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren Jones joined local officials, representatives of the Commonwealth Corporation, and program participants to announce the awards at Greater Lawrence Technical School. The school received $369,000 to provide training and placement services for 48 unemployed and underemployed participants in Medical Assistant positions, in partnership with Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Beth Israel Lahey Health.

“These grants will connect Massachusetts residents who typically face higher barriers to obtaining employment with the vital training and skills they need to create a meaningful career pathway, while also helping to ensure that employers have access to the skilled talent they need,” said Governor Healey. “Making the match between skills training and labor demand is critical for supporting our workers, employers, economy and competitiveness.”

“These organizations are supporting our workforce by attracting those who are unemployed, underemployed, or experiencing barriers to employment and providing the necessary skills they need to succeed,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “These grants not only help connect people with job training in critical industries but helps expand our skilled talent pool for employers.”

The grants are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s strategic investment in the Massachusetts workforce by developing programs that support individuals facing barriers to employment, such as lack of formal schooling, language barriers, or past involvement with the criminal justice system. The grants will support seven initiatives to develop and implement employer-responsive programs to place participants into unsubsidized employment in targeted occupations and create opportunities for underemployed and unemployed individuals to access high-quality, in-demand training programs.

“These partnerships will help create life-changing opportunities for Massachusetts jobseekers and play a critical role in bridging the skills gap while addressing the needs of both workers and employers in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to strengthening the Commonwealth’s competitiveness by closing the workforce skill gap, investing in workforce development, and re-engaging underemployed and underrepresented individuals. We look forward to continuing to work with these partners as they implement their initiatives.”

The proposed grant recipients and dollar amount of the award are as follows:

Health and Home Care Training of New England: Awarded $350,000 to provide training and placement services to 50 unemployed and underemployed individuals for Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide positions. The Wakefield-based organization will partner with St. Joseph’s Manor, Wingate Healthcare, and On-Call Staffing.
Catholic Charitable Bureau of the Archdiocese of Boston: Awarded $1,000,000 to provide training and placement services for 156 unemployed and underemployed participants in Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide positions. Partners include Mass General Brigham, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Signature Healthcare.
Holyoke Health Center: Awarded $850,600 to provide training and placement services for 60 unemployed and underemployed participants in Dental Assistant positions. Partners include Hampden County Oral Surgery, Quinn Family Dental, and River Valley Dental.
Greater Lawrence Technical School: Awarded $369,000 to provide training and placement services for 48 unemployed and underemployed participants in Medical Assistant positions. Partners include Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Beth Israel Lahey Health.
Massachusetts Restaurant Association Education Foundation: Awarded $250,000 to provide training and placement services for 50 unemployed and underemployed participants in various food service and hospitality positions. Partners include a wide range of restaurants and hospitality groups, such as Brady’s Restaurant, Turners Seafood Corp, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Nuestra, Viscariello Hospitality, Firefly BBQ, Stones Hospitality Group, 110 Grill, Big Night Entertainment Group LLC, Burtons Grill LLC, and Kowloon Restaurant.
Massachusetts Restaurant Association: Awarded $160,000 to provide training and placement services for 40 unemployed and underemployed participants in Restaurant Manager, Server, Chef, Sous Chef, Prep Cook, Dishwasher, and Restaurant General Manager positions. Partners include 110 Grill/Evivva Trattoria, Worcester Restaurant Group, Niche Hospitality, Peppercorns Grille & Bar, Burtons Grill/Red Heat Tavern, Nu Kitchen, Panera Bread, The Mill at 185, Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Reunion Tap and Table.
BEST Hospitality Training: Awarded $500,000 to provide training and placement services for 50 unemployed and underemployed participants in Housekeeper, Houseperson, Laundry Attendant, Linen Runner, Public Space Attendant, and Lobby Attendant positions. Partners include Boston Park Plaza, Hotel Commonwealth, The Newbury Boston, Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, and W Boston.

The Workforce Competitiveness Training Fund works to make a positive impact on the lives of Massachusetts individuals and families through and increase the competitiveness of its businesses by creating demand-driven programs tailored to industry sectors. Learn more about this and additional funding opportunities on the CommCorp website.


Spotlight: BEST receives a 10-Year $500K Grant from the Cummings Foundation

PRESS RELEASE: BEST is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Boston-based organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $500,000 over 10 years.

BEST is a nationally recognized workforce development agency with a mission to provide individuals with the education, skills, and training to excel in the hospitality industry and in their personal lives. BEST partners with UNITE HERE Local 26 (the hotel and restaurant workers’ union), 40+ socially responsible hospitality employers, government and private foundations, and community organizations to place people into quality hospitality jobs that move families into the middle class. The funding received from the Cummings Foundation will specifically support BEST’s Job Seeker programming. This program focuses on creating a diversified pipeline of low-income residents who can access quality jobs in the hospitality sector. These jobs offer family-sustaining wages and comprehensive benefits, including healthcare, pension, dental, vision, modern assistance programs, legal services, and even first-time homebuyer loans. “The consistent and long-term grant from the Cummings Foundation is instrumental in enabling us to effectively carry out our mission and make a significant impact in the lives of individuals and families we serve,” said BEST executive director Aisha Necoechea.

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the areas where it owns commercial property. Its buildings are all managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation. “The way the local nonprofit sector perseveres, steps up, and pivots to meet the shifting needs of the community is most impressive,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes. “We are incredibly grateful for these tireless efforts to support people in the community and to increase equity and access to opportunities.”

The majority of the grant decisions were made by about 90 volunteers. They worked across a variety of committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents, and experts in areas such as finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). “It would not be possible for the Foundation to hire the diversity and depth of expertise and insights that our volunteers bring to the process,” said Vyriotes. “We so appreciate the substantial time and thought they dedicated toward ensuring that our democratized version of philanthropy results in equitable outcomes that will really move the needle on important issues in local communities.”

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $225,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a volunteer panel to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each. This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 46 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $480 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 1,500 previous recipients, is available at

About BEST Hospitality Training
BEST Hospitality Training, founded in 2004, is a sector-based, 501(c)3 minority-owned non-profit workforce development agency focused on the hospitality industry. By partnering with UNITE HERE Local 26 (the hotel and restaurant workers union), 40+ socially responsible employers, and city, state, and private funders, they open the doors to good-paying union hotel jobs for job seekers as well as upskilling and training opportunities for current union members. BEST has two training centers located in Medford and Boston, MA.

About Cummings Foundation
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA and has grown to be one of the largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities, in Marlborough and Woburn, and Cummings Health Sciences, LLC. Additional information is available at

Spotlight: Grand Opening of our Seaport Training Center

In 2023, BEST opened its training center at the Seaport which is housed within the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport. This center is the result of a highly successful public, private, labor, and management partnership.