For this interview, I chose the president and spokeswoman of a non-profit service dog organization in Texas. Her job as a training professional is very interesting because not only does she have to train her employees and volunteers, the participants (those receiving a service dog) also have to be trained before they take their dog home. These, of course, are different kinds of training, but this non-profit businesswoman is in charge of all the training that happens within her organization. My interview with Ms. Stoltz was interesting because many of her answers to my questions applied to both the training of the organization employees and participants, which proves that no matter who is being trained in a typical business or even a non-profit, similar training techniques are used for many different training purposes. The following are my questions and Ms. Stoltz’ paraphrased and summarized answers and conclusions.
What is the first step you make when training new employees for your organization?
Well, the first thing I have to do is figure out what our most pressing needs are. Since we are reliant on donations from individuals and other, profit-based businesses, sometimes we mainly need people who can go out and acquire these donations by promoting our cause of helping those in need while helping abandoned and abused dogs. And, we always need trainers who train and take care of the dogs, and then help train our soon-to-be dog owner/recipients to know how to keep up with the training the dog has already learned. It would seem that Ms. Stoltz’ first step follows under the “needs assessment” stage as the first stage of training.
How would you say the training programs are designed for acquiring donations, employees/volunteers, and the soon-to-be dog recipients?
The programs for those who are receiving one of our dogs is very strict and formulaic. The good things about dogs, is they tend to learn the same, and the people in need of a service dog generally come to us and are just thrilled to be getting help in the form of a cuddly friend, which tends to make them very willing to learn our process of positive reinforcement training with the dogs. Now, we get to be a little more creative when it comes to acquitting new employees and donations because each situation is different and I believe this is a very important and personal thing that we’re doing here—we’re helping those in need of assistance in their daily lives and giving them a loveable, furry friend to take home. The actual training is pretty easy since it’s so formulated. Acquiring the funds necessary to keep up with our mission, is a bit more complicated.
What would you say is the most important or necessary step in terms of the training within your organization?
Actually, the question you asked about the first step, which is figuring out what our most pressing needs are is extremely important. But, to add to that, I’d say actually putting our plans and goals to action and seeing them through to the end. No matter if we’re rescuing dogs, training new employees, or seeking donations, we can plan until we turn blue, but if we do not act on it with a positive, upbeat attitude, we have failed before we’ve even begun. Being positive, almost like a cheerleader, any non profit organization is doomed. It’s actually pretty easy for us, since we’re surrounded by our furry friends and making people happy in the end. But it’s an awful lot of hard work to get to that happy and rewarding end result.
- Huxham, C., & Vangen, S. (n.d.). Working Together: Key Themes In The Management Of Relationships Between Public And Non-profit Organizations. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 5-17.
- Dehejia, R., & Wahba, S. (n.d.). Causal Effects in Nonexperimental Studies: Reevaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 1053-1053.
- McGehee, W., & Thayer, P. (1961). Training in business and industry. New York: Wiley.
- Service Dogs, Inc. – Helping Texans for over 25 years! (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2015, from http://www.servicedogs.org/