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Location: Smithtown, New York
Job Type: Full time
Deadline: August 15, 2023

Job Description

Contact at organisation: Jennifer Thorne, GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND/AMERICA’S VETDOGS

Phone: (203) 684-6797



The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is a national leader in training and placing guide and service dogs that provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or who have other special needs. The organization serves clients from across the United States and Canada.

For over 75 years, the Guide Dog Foundation (GDF) has successfully worked with individuals who are deaf-blind and those with disabilities other than blindness or hearing impairment in its trademarked small classes and personalized instruction. In addition to its guide and service dog programs, the Foundation offers extensive education and outreach programs to broaden the public’s understanding of visual impairment, as well as access and disability rights.

Guide Dog Foundation created its sister organization America’s VetDogs in 2003 to help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence. Veterans are supported whether they are visually impaired or have other special needs, through the use of assistance dogs. Both guide and service dogs enable veterans to reclaim their independence and maximize the connections to their families, communities and country. Today, America’s VetDogs represents the fastest growing segment of the organization’s operations.

Unique to Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and America’s VetDogs is their role as the country’s largest entity to jointly develop and train both guide dogs and multiple types of service dogs. GDF/AVD trains and places service dogs for those with physical disabilities; guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; service dogs to help mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing, and facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals.

While each organization is a separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, the two organizations share staff and other resources to ensure people with disabilities receive the best services possible.

Over the past few years, the organizations have experienced tremendous growth in revenue, brand recognition and demand for its services, having leveraged high-profile partnerships with the national media and professional sports teams. Further, America’s VetDogs was selected to work with former President George H.W. Bush by providing him with his service dog, Sully.

The organization has a combined operating budget in excess of $18M and is supported by a staff of 140 and over 1,500 volunteers.

For more information about GDF/AVD, visit their websites at: and


Working from the organization’s 10-acre campus in Smithtown (Long Island, NY) the Program Manager reports to the Chief Program Officer.
The Guide Dog Program Manager is directly responsible for the staffing, supervision and training of personnel in the Guide Dog Foundation Training Department and for maintaining a level of excellence in both dog training and client instruction. The Manager will provide other departments as needed with training-related support and scheduling staff for home interviews, client follow-up, puppy-raising events, and other ancillary duties.


  • The Program Manager will be responsible for effectively recruiting and supervising his/her/their team within the Training Department. S/he/they will ensure that the Department performs at the highest level in its work with dogs, clients and staff training. S/he/they will ensure the Department is well organized to assist with home interviews, client instruction, client follow-up and other related functions.
  • Develop and implement staff education and training related to clients, dogs, and instructors encompassing modern technology, training procedures and employee development to foster a high level of excellence.
  • Participate as a member of the Admissions Review Committee and make recommendations regarding client acceptance.
  • Ensure sufficient dogs are available for training and class and that quality standards are consistently followed in the final blindfold testing for all class-ready guides.
  • Ensure and supervise the care and welfare of all dogs under the Training department.
  • During class, oversee decisions concerning the final status of all individual client teams.
  • Support the adherence to the department’s budget and monitor cost throughout year while respecting the donor dollar.
  • Undertake performance reviews, recruiting, and discipline as necessary.
  • Adhere to our organization’s safety policies and procedures and encourage others to do the same. Promptly reports incidents and accidents according to established protocols.


  • Qualified guide dog instructor with a minimum of 3 years’ experience (post qualification).
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively building, supervising and leading teams.
  • Innovative leader with the ability to manage team ideas/projects through to final outcomes.
  • Understanding of resource management in creating and monitoring budgets and staffing.
  • Ability to identify and resolve problems in a timely manner and can effectively work with others to solve complex issues.
  • Excellent interpersonal, analytical and communication skills. This includes interacting with consumers and staff in an effective and professional manner.
  • Ability to be an informed and articulate spokesperson for the Guide Dog Foundation & America’s VetDogs.
  • Ability to work travel; work weekends, evenings and holiday, which could include overnights in residence as needed.
  • Valid driver’s license in good standing and insurable at normal rates. Must be able to drive a car, van or bus.

Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs is an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to ensuring equal opportunity to all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, or expression.

How to Apply

For more information, to refer a candidate, or to apply in confidence, please contact:

David Hinsley Cheng, Managing Partner
Jennifer Thorne, Search Consultant
DHC Search
(203) 307-0120