Eriberto a man of many talents
Eriberto Martinez plays a mean guitar. It was no wonder, then, that he once dreamed of a music career in his native Cuba.

But something happened to Eriberto on his way to stage and fame. He discovered another calling. He liked to bake pastries.

And, he was good at it.

After taking the appropriate courses and working in several hotels, Eriberto was a good enough pastry chef to have his own bakery in Cuba. But then life presented him with another fork in the road. He had met the woman who would become his wife—a doctor doing her residency on his island.

“We met at the beach,” Eriberto said, smiling. She was from Boston. By 2008, they were both in the United States. Eriberto yearned to resume his career as a pastry chef in his new country. But the only English Eriberto knew he had picked up from his wife.

Until, that is, he found Dorcas Place, its English classes and its Career Academy. The academy offers an integrated course that includes academics, general customer service training, computers and job readiness. The programs average 20 weeks—fifteen weeks in class which includes industry specific training as well as soft skills education and job search aid, classes are followed by 4 to 5-week unpaid internships with industry partners.

“Dorcas Place is the right place for every immigrant,” Eriberto said. “Here, you learn all those details that you need. I feel like this is my home.”

Today, besides his English fluency, Eriberto is a pastry chef at the highly regarded Seven Stars Bakery on Hope Street. At one point in his Dorcas Place experience he thought of leaving to find work. But his teachers urged him to stay, and their advice paid off with a job in his Eriberto’s chosen field. “They are a great team,” said Eriberto as he was working through the bakery’s training program. “I’m pretty excited to be there. I’m doing things again that I hadn’t done in years.”

Now, Eriberto needs “only” to fulfill the rest of his dream.

“I would like to have something like I had in Cuba,” he said. “A small bakery where I could do something like I do at Seven Stars. “My father-in-law says I should feature some Cuban pastries.”

And while he’s at it, Eriberto plans to keep studying at Dorcas Place. For one thing, he did not finish high school in Cuba and he’s working on a GED. ”And,” he added, I want to keep improving with my second language.” His broad smile seemed to say that he means it.

 Presentations are given by industry partners during Career Academy courses.