JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston, in partnership with Carolina Canines for Service, announced the approval of the service dog training program as a United States Department of Labor Apprentice Program for Service Dog Technicians June 16.
The successful approval of the Apprenticeship Program for Service Dog Technicians provides a level of skill based on competency for the prisoners enrolled in the program. Upon successful completion of the competency, the prisoners receive a U.S. Department of Labor Journeyman Certificate.
"This is a major step for the service dog training industry," said Rick Hairston, president and chief executive officer of Carolina Canines for Service. "This will have long term effects on shaping the industry of service dog providers for our veterans, ensuring the quality of the dogs trained."
Cmdr. Raymond Drake, NAVCONBRIG Charleston commanding officer said, "The approval of the service dog training program as a United States Department of Labor Apprentice Program is another major success for this program and ensures continued high standards while providing prisoners valuable, documented, nationally recognized job skill training that will greatly benefit them upon release."
NAVCONBRIG Charleston houses prisoners from all branches of the military sentenced up to five years; longer sentences on a case-by-case basis. The brig provides extensive prisoner programs, including rehabilitative treatment, substance abuse treatment, counseling, education and academic, vocational and physical training.
NAVCONBRIG Charleston work programs support military and federal agencies to provide productive, cost-effective work which is also used as a skill-training process. Work programs include carpentry, furniture making and repair, auto maintenance and repair, metal working and welding, sign making, upholstery, service dog canine training and culinary arts.
Carolina Canines for Service is a nonprofit health and human services organization that trains service dogs for people with disabilities. In 2008, CCFS launched a national program, Carolina Canines for Veterans, to train rescue dogs from local shelters to assist wounded veterans. Operating entirely on private donations, CCFS instructs prisoners to raise and train each service dog.
A Carolina Canines service dog is a constant companion that can perform more than 70 tasks for the wounded veteran, including retrieving and carrying objects, opening doors, helping with stress and balance difficulties as well as providing a bridge back to society.