Local 23 of the international labor union UNITE HERE is opening a culinary training kitchen for members at 3210 Colonial Lane, the former location of Progress Place.

The union, which is leasing space from owner Washington Property Company, will use the commercial kitchen space for a nonprofit training program offered by Service Workers Training & Education Partnership.

Shown in the photo is Councilmember Tom Hucker (back row, second from right), Washington Property Company President Charlie Nulsen (second row, right) and Amelia Kalant, Director of STEP (front row, right), joining culinary students and their instructor, Sandy Patterson (first row, third from right) at the former Progress Place building. Photo courtesy Washington Property Company.

STEP is a joint benefit fund operated by the union in partnership with companies such as Aramark, Sodexo and Compass Group. The program offers culinary training to help adult workers learn new skills and advance their careers in the hospitality industry.

Limited to 12 participants, the classes are free to qualifying union members.

In addition, STEP will offer beginning English as a Second Language in the space.

“I truly commend everything Washington Property Company has done to redevelop Silver Spring’s downtown as an exciting transit-oriented community,” said Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-District 5) in a press release. “The STEP culinary training program represents a creative use of WPC’s former Progress Place facility, providing tangible benefits to hard-working members of our community and to our thriving local restaurant industry.”

WPC also leases space in the building to 411 Art Associates, a group of professional artists that was formerly located in Washington, D.C.

LendLease, the construction company building WPC’s latest downtown Silver Spring apartment building, the nearby Solaire 8250 Georgia Ave., fills out the building.

WPC plans to eventually develop an additional high-rise apartment building on the site.

Mike Diegel