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Guide Dogs for the Blind Partners With American Printing House for the Blind to Aid Careers of Young People

First Collaboration is a Weeklong Careers and Canine Program This Summer

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) ConnectCenter have announced a partnership to offer joint programming and career development programs for young adults who are blind or have low vision. The partnership is groundbreaking because it’s the first time in the U.S. a leading educational organization in the blindness community has joined forces with a guide dog school to offer career programming for young adults considering the guide dog lifestyle.

The inaugural collaboration is called Careers & Canine Connections, which is a weeklong immersive program for young adults aged 18-24. The program, scheduled for August 7-12, will be held on and around GDB’s Oregon campus. It offers a deep dive into career exploration and how guide dogs can fit into future employment opportunities for their handlers. Careers & Canine Connections was designed to help young adults overcome the huge unemployment and underemployment issue the blindness community has historically faced.

Participants will learn about new career options, practice interviewing techniques, explore the value of networking, and enjoy unique hands-on experience with guide dogs. Although it is not a guide dog training program, Careers & Canine Connections is tailored for young job seekers interested in exploring guide dog mobility.

“We’re overjoyed to partner with APH Connect Center to support career readiness of our young participants in a way that integrates the use of a guide dog into their employment plans and decisions,” said Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. “APH Connect Center has such an amazing library and breadth of experience, so we hope to grow this partnership in meaningful ways to help participants live the lives they want to live by fulfilling their career dreams in practically any role in society.”

“This is another wonderful partnership that we are happy to see come to fruition. It is very important that individuals who are blind or have low vision have access to learn about guide dogs, just as it is important for them to learn how to handle and maneuver applying for jobs and interviews,” said Paul Schroeder, APH Vice President, Impact & Outreach. “This program allows participants to gain valuable mentorship and get unique hands-on experience that will last a lifetime.”

In recent years, GDB has expanded its services to engage more youth who are blind or have low vision. In addition to Careers & Canine Connections, GDB offers its K9 Buddy Program, which matches specially selected dogs to become pets and companions for individuals five years or older; Camp GDB, an annual camp for youth and young adults to learn more about the guide dog lifestyle; and Ready, Set, FORWARD, a series of virtual workshops for youth, families, and blindness professionals.

Careers & Canine Connections is free to participants who meet certain criteria. Applications are due on or before April 1, 2023. To learn more, visit Careers-canines-connections.

About Guide Dogs for the Blind

Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is the largest guide dog school in North America. It is a passionate community that prepares highly qualified guide dogs to empower individuals who are blind or have low vision to move through the world more safely and confidently. More than 16,000 guide teams have graduated from GDB since it was founded in 1942. Over the course of 80 years, GDB’s mission has expanded to three kinds of programs: a Guide Dog Mobility Program, an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program, and a K9 Buddy Program. GDB not only improves mobility for its clients, but it also furthers inclusion and advocates for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness. GDB’s services are provided free of charge, and it receives no government funding. The organization was the subject of an award-winning documentary feature called Pick of the Litter, which was developed into a television docuseries by the same name for Disney+. For more information, visit, or call 800.295.4050.

About American Printing House for the Blind’s ConnectCenter

The APH ConnectCenter offers curated advice and resources to assist children, parents, adults, job seekers who are blind or low vision and their associated professionals, leading to greater independence and success in their lives. Trained staff at the ConnectCenter Information and Referral Line are always ready to help. Those looking for resources and services related to vision loss can call 800-232-5463, or visit American Printing House for the Blind is headquartered at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. To visit APH’s website, please go to


Barbara Zamost
(415) 987-2810


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