Job Seekers

STEP’s training programs for job seekers prepare graduates for unionized employment where workers earn above average wages and great benefits (affordable health care, optical insurance and dental insurance) that help them build a sustainable future for themselves and their families.

Class offerings for job seekers typically include:

Culinary Foundations for English Language Learners: A 200-hour class to support graduates into entry level culinary jobs with union employers. It combines hands-on culinary training in a commercial kitchen with English language instruction, nationally recognized food safety credentials, interview skills, and union job placement assistance. 

Food Service Worker: This short class (between 40 and 80 hours) provides basic food safety and commercial kitchen instruction to those who are conversational in English.

Barista: This short class may be combined with Food Service Worker, and provides graduates with basic barista and baking skills.

Catering Attendant: A short workshop on the basics of catering, primarily intended to assist graduates seeking part-time or on-call unionized positions as caterers. On-call wages earned by graduates are typically over $25 per hour.

Catering Entrepreneur: Modules designed to support hospitality workers looking to build a small catering business on the side.

How to Register

Find the class you’re interested in and submit the application. You will receive a text message or email from STEP asking you to confirm your attendance. Please read our “no call no show policy”!

Upcoming Classes

View All arrow-right

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • STEP’s job training classes are focused on the skills and knowledge needed for work in the food service industry: we cover customer service, kitchen skills, food safety.  Our other classes include: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL); Leadership; Introduction to Digital Literacy. Some of these classes may be restricted to eligible UNITE HERE Local 23 members (and sometimes their family members) who work for a participating employer. We do not offer classes in other sectors.

  • All of our classes are free of charge unless otherwise noted.

  • External, industry recognized certification classes and exams are part of our Job Training programs. Eligible UNITE HERE Local 23 members may also register for any of our scheduled Food Safety or Alcohol service classes.

  • Some of our job seeker classes may include a student stipend. There is no need for tuition assistance since the classes are free. If you are a UNITE HERE Local 23 DC member looking for tuition reimbursement assistance for a class you have taken elsewhere (such as a community college, university, or vocational program) or want to support a scholarship application for a child or grandchild, please click here.

  • This is up to you and your employer to discuss.

  • Many classes are restricted to eligible members of UNITE HERE Local 23 and sometimes their family members. Others are created specifically for under/un-employed community (or union) members whose goal includes obtaining a position with one of STEP’s partner employers.

  • Please check the class in question. This answer varies by class.

  • The attendance policy depends on the class. Our Job Training classes have strict attendance requirements that will be explained to you when you apply. They may vary based on the class length.

  • Yes. While we understand that emergencies happen, we reserve the right to restrict your future registration to waitlisting/standby if you fail to inform us at least 24 hours in advance that you will not be able to attend class. We often have classes with waitlists, and failure to give advance notice means that we are unable to offer the open seat to another member. We strongly urge you to first check in with your manager to make sure that you are able to call off work if necessary for attendance.  Please review our no call no show policy.

  • Classes for UNITE HERE Local 23 members are open to any Local 23 member working at a unit where there is an agreement with STEP. Most Local 23 units are in the STEP Fund but some are not. If you are not sure, please text us at 301-876-4419 and we can let you know.

  • For information about our partner UNITE HERE Local 23, please see