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Participant Program Manager 

About the Organization Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, Canine Companions is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs, and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.  
Location Southwest Regional Center - Oceanside, CA  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
About the Region

The Southwest Region of Canine Companions was founded in 1986. We serve Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Southern California, Southern Nevada and Hawaii. The Southwest Regional Training Center is named the Dean, Gerda and Trixie Koontz Campus after our campus benefactors: bestselling author Dean Koontz, his wife and their late Golden Retriever adopted from Canine Companions after being retired from service.


Schedule Information

Typical schedule: M-F, 8-5.


Salary Range Salary DOE. Canine Companions for Independence offers benefits including Med., Dental, Vision, 403b w/ match, Life Insurance, and various disability long term care benefits.  


This position supports the applicant, candidate, Team Training and graduate programs. It is focused on developing personal relationships with all applicants and graduates in the region in order for them to be optimally supported and actively involved throughout their time in the Canine Companions Program. It requires the ability to effectively interview people with disabilities, manage a large volume of paperwork, create detailed records, promote and explain the Canine Companions program, understand graduates’ needs and provide quality customer service.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned as needed:

  • Applicant/Candidate Program: Manage the application process which duties include:
    • Provide and direct information and application materials to people interested in applying for a Canine Companion.
    • Process application requests and answer questions about program to applicants.
    • Screen, interview and maintain detailed records of all applicants.
    • Evaluate applicants for appropriateness to program.
    • Monitor and ensure candidate waiting lists for all categories, including Service, Skilled Companion, Facility and Hearing, are within the designated ranges.
    • Outreach to appropriate potential applicants to ensure balance in each wait list category.
    • Maintain yearly contact with all candidates.
    • Train rotating apprentice instructors how to build optimal relationships with Applicants.
    • Coordinate the admission program activities with the Program Director and Training Manager to ensure overall program cohesiveness.
  • Student/Team Training Program: Responsible for organizing Team Training class preparation and implementation. Follow company policies and procedures in order to:
    • Collaborate with program staff in the selection of Team Training students.
    • Invite students to class based on standardized policies and processes.
    • Prepare students for Team Training by providing all necessary materials and information to incoming students.
    • Work with campus staff to make all necessary arrangements for Team Training class.
    • Ensure all necessary equipment is available for students in Team Training.
    • Organize side placements.
    • Monitor and oversee running of ADI/Public Access testing during Team Training.
    • Schedule, oversee and recruit volunteers for Team Training
  • Graduate Program: Responsible for prioritizing, coordinating, scheduling and conducting graduate follow- up visits to ensure the safety and success of canine-graduate teams. Duties include:
    • Provide a positive and interactive experience/transition for graduates after Team Training.
    • Interact and instruct graduates about the graduate program; answer questions and provide graduate resources.
    • Manage, track and support graduate teams.
    • Apply knowledge of canine behavior, temperament and health with needs of participants.
    • Monitor Public Access expirations and provide opportunities for graduates to renew certification.
    • Provide timely phone and email support to graduates.
    • Schedule yearly follow-up trips to areas of graduate clusters or locations where needed.
    • Organize and administrate yearly graduate seminar.
    • Assist graduates with decisions to retire dogs and application for successor dog.
    • Monitor and ensure an adequate supply of graduate equipment.
    • Prepare program reports and analysis.
    • Train apprentice instructors how to build optimal relationships with Graduates.
    • Train apprentice instructors how to organize and conduct follow-up visits.
    • Coordinate graduate program activities with Regional Program Directors, Training Managers and training staff to ensure overall program cohesiveness.
  • Administrative duties include:
    • Keep organized, accurate and detailed records of applicants, candidates and graduates.
    • Maintain current and up to date participant information within the database Portal.
    • Give presentations in public forums.
    • Be a role model and mentor to apprentice instructors in the admissions process.
  • Participate in meetings with supervisors and regional participant staff to develop and coordinate program developments with company goals and objectives.
  • Provide disability education to staff by scheduling speakers, sharing articles, etc.
  • In conjunction with the National Program staff, develop annual, regional placement objectives and follow up goals.
  • Oversee the selection of dogs for each class and the organization of each Team Training class.
  • Working with the development department, represent Canine Companions and the region through interviews, tours and presentations.
  • Provide periodic updates on progress towards placement objectives and follow up goals.
  • Be accountable not only for direct responsibilities outlined in this job description but also to serve fellow staff and other constituents with whom position interacts. Ensure actions and communications are honest and transparent.
Position Requirements


  • Able to perform several tasks concurrently, time management and organizational skills.
  • Able to coordinate, network and motivate staff, volunteers and clientele.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; able to communicate and assist applicants
  • Able to maintain confidential information.
  • Able to complete necessary paperwork and meet deadlines.
  • Able to perform public speaking presentations, with disability awareness and sensitivity.
  • Familiarity with dog training and animal health.

EXPERIENCE: 2 years project management experience and strong customer service skills. Robust computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) Experience working with people with disabilities preferred

EDUCATION: High School diploma or equivalent; some college coursework preferred.

EOE Statement We are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.


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