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San Francisco SPCA to launch a free Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship Program

February 27, 2018

by Jenn Doyle

The San Francisco SPCA is looking for animal-loving San Franciscans to apply for a full-time, paid apprenticeship program.

Animals, whether it’s your furry, playful kitty cat or the neighbor’s loveable mutt who you can’t help but pet, make up the city of San Francisco. While most of San Francisco’s furry friends have loving owners, those that do not are cared for at the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA), which cares for and adopts out more than 5,000 animals each year from its state-of-the-art shelter on Alabama Street.

The SF SPCA is growing and expects to hire 175 veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians over the next five years. To build their workforce, they created a paid apprenticeship program and are now looking for people to apply for this unique opportunity to care for the city’s animals.

The program, formed collaboratively with the SF SPCA, Foothill College and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), prepares people to become Veterinary Assistants through classroom learning and on-the-job training.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to earn as they learn. Over the two-year program, the participants will be paid for a 40-hour week, which includes classroom time and on-the-job training, and they also will be eligible for our full benefits program,” said Alice Jordan, senior VP for People Development and Education at the SF SPCA.

The program is designed for people in the Bay Area, specifically San Francisco, who are looking for a stable career path in an exciting, growing field. Across California, demand for both Veterinary Assistants and Veterinary Technicians is growing.

Lisa Countryman, vice president of Grants and Program Development at JVS, a Bay Area nonprofit job training provider, spent two years working with the SF SPCA and Foothill College to develop a program that is designed for people who are brand new to the field and includes the right combination of college credit courses, lectures, labs and on-the-job training.

The program is designed for people in the Bay Area, specifically San Francisco, who are looking for a stable career path in an exciting, growing field. Across California, demand for both Veterinary Assistants and Veterinary Technicians is growing.

“The SF SPCA really wanted to develop a program to help people in their community launch a new career. They take great pride in being a local organization and they want their team to be made up of people who have roots in this great city,” said Countryman. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people to enter a field where they can grow their careers in a supportive environment and get paid at the same time.”

Once accepted, apprentices will be enrolled in the Foothill College Vet Tech program where they will earn college credit through classroom learning and on-the-job training at the SF SPCA. A typical apprentice’s week will include:

  • on-the-job training at the Mission or Pacific Heights Veterinary Hospitals, the Shelter Medicine Department and Spay/Neuter Clinic
  • classroom learning that covers topics such as medical terminology, animal care skills, clinical pathology methods and more (books and supplies will be paid for by the program)
  • study groups, including tutoring or other personalized help as needed
  • discussions and insights on the SF SPCA’s mission, values and how apprentices can succeed as an employee

“The program introduction follows the life of a shelter animal moving through our organization,” explained Jordan. “This journey is an opportunity for the apprentices to understand how our departments work together to contribute to the mission of the SF SPCA.”

JVS, whose programs are available free to any Bay Area residents, is now recruiting for the first Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship Program starting in April 2018. Eligibility includes: High school diploma or GED, age 18 or older, English literacy, basic math skills, eligible to work in the U.S. Participants should be passionate about animals, high energy, critical thinkers and eager to learn.

JVS, whose programs are available free to any Bay Area residents, is now recruiting for the first Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship Program starting in April 2018.

Nanette Solvason, PhD Dean, Biological and Health Sciences at Foothill College echoed how excited they are to be part of this program: “At Foothill, we’re dedicated to helping our students develop skills that are not only critical for their success, but that also help build a stronger, more connected community. We believe in the power of apprenticeship programs to prepare students to become outstanding members of today’s educated workforce.”

To learn more about the Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship Program, visit www.jvs.org/vetprogram.

Jenn Doyle, marketing director for Jewish Vocational Services, can be reached at jisfan@jvs.org.

2 thoughts on “San Francisco SPCA to launch a free Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship Program

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    Quote: "This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to earn as they learn. Over the two-year program, the participants will be paid for a 40-hour week, which includes classroom time and on-the-job training, and also will be eligible for our full program benefits, ". I think my friends are interested. Thanks for this article. That's great

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