Contact at organisation: Janine Petroro, Human Resources Director
Phone Number: (914) 243-2252
Address: 611 Granite Springs Road
State/Province: New York
Postal Code: 10598
Guiding Eyes was founded as a not-for-profit in 1954. Our mission is to provide guide dogs to people with vision loss. Every year, we graduate around 150 guide dogs and provide follow up services to nearly 1,000 guide dog users throughout the United States and Canada. We are a team of 150 full time staff and 1,500 volunteers, stewarding $30 million in annual donor support, passionate about connecting service dogs with individuals for greater independence.
It costs around $50,000 to breed, raise and train a guide dog. Instruction, support services, room and board and transportation are provided to students free of charge. Guiding Eyes receives no government funding, but relies on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and civic groups to achieve its charitable mission.
Guiding Eyes’ main campus is on 10 acres in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., about 35 miles north of New York City in Westchester County. On the main campus is a veterinary hospital, a kennel for up to 175 dogs in training, and a dormitory of 19 single rooms where students live for two to three weeks while learning to work with a guide dog. In 2015, Guiding Eyes completed a renovation of its canine development center in Patterson, N.Y., about 70 miles north of New York City in Putnam County, where puppies are housed in different stages of development. Here, the staff oversees breeding, birthing, socializing, screening, and placement of high-potential puppies into volunteers’ homes.
Volunteers, mostly in the Eastern United States, raise a puppy in their homes for about 16 months, providing it with the foundation needed to succeed in guide dog training. Volunteers, however, do not directly train the puppy to be a guide dog. Training takes place at the main campus in Yorktown Heights and surrounding towns and cities in New York, including White Plains. About thirty to fifty % of each training class is made up of returning students, as a guide dog’s active working life begins at two years old and is between seven and nine years.
Guide dogs are available to people who are legally blind, are at least 16 years of age, have the ability to travel independently with a cane, and are ready and willing to accept the responsibility of caring for a service dog.
Guiding Eyes also operates several customized programs, including:
- A Specialized Training program for people with disabilities in addition to blindness, such as hearing loss or orthopedic challenges.
- The Home Training Program, which brings trained guide dogs and instruction to the homes of students who cannot attend the on-campus program; and
- A Running Guide Program suited for people and dogs who enjoy running.
The Director of Training (“DOT”) reports to the President & CEO and is responsible for managing all guide dog Training Programs. The role is the key subject matter expert serving on a Senior Management team of six responsible for overseeing the provision of guide dogs to people with vision loss. The DOT will work alongside the Senior Management Team to develop and implement a strategic plan for sustainable organizational growth.
The DOT is responsible for an operating budget of $7.8M and a team of 50 Guide Dog Mobility Instructors and staff.
The DOT also serves as a high-level partner and collaborator across the organization, working with the veterinary, breeding and puppy raising teams, in addition to providing leadership and day-to-day management of the training and canine development functions.
The DOT is responsible for meeting or exceeding the standards of Guide Dog Team Instruction and Follow-Up services. As such, The DOT is responsible for overseeing that instruction provided to people who are blind is individualized and meets the International Guide Dog Federation standards to achieve safe and effective guide dog mobility. The DOT will be responsible for working with management to execute a well thought out plan for all programs, including on campus instruction, training in a person’s home area, specialized training for people with a disability in addition to blindness, and a running guide dog program. The individual has a key role in executing the organization’s strategic plan and operating budget.
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience overseeing programs designated for assisting people with disabilities as well as experience with animal training techniques with an emphasis on positive reinforcement. Experience leading change to adapt programs to support the changing needs of individuals with disabilities preferred.
The position requires excellent communication skills and will be expected to represent Guiding Eyes in the alumni, volunteer and donor communities. The DOT participates and presents at national and international conferences and in the media from time to time.
Qualified candidates should have all or most of the following:
- Minimum of 10 – 15 years of related experience managing programs in the not-for-profit field.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in animal sciences/behavior and/or degree in a field related to education or rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities required.
- Demonstrated experience successfully developing and implementing project plans to achieve a measurable organizational goal, including accountability for developing and managing an operating budget of at least $5M in a not-for-profit or other social enterprise.
- Success in leading a team of educators or trainers a plus and demonstrated ability to build comradery and employee engagement a must.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Proven ability to effectively manage cross-functional relationships at all levels.
- Must love dogs and be a person who enjoys interacting with others.
- Must be able to walk a minimum of 3 miles (5K) per day.