Shelter Training Specialist

Job Description

Job Title:                  Shelter Training Specialist

Department:                 Shelter

Classification:              Full time, exempt

Job Relationship:         Reports to Shelter Manager.  Works closely with the Volunteer Manager, Human Resources Assistant, Animal Care Supervisor, Animal Transfer and Flow Supervisor, Adoptions Supervisor, and Clinic Supervisor. Trains and oversees volunteers and interns; provides training support to staff.

Position Summary:   Serves as the primary contact for onboarding and training animal support volunteer positions. Works closely with Volunteer Manager to ensure volunteers are recruited, trained, and motivated to provide the best possible care for animals in the shelter. Works with shelter and clinic supervisors to ensure new staff members receive uniform training and all training checklists are completed within the first 90 days of hire.


 Essential Job Functions:

Provides training, supervision, and support to volunteers and interns in the shelter and clinic.

  • Serves as the primary contact for adoption volunteers, dog walking, behavior and enrichment volunteers, shelter support volunteers, clinic volunteers, and other daily oversight of onsite volunteers and interns.
  • Works with supervisors to determine volunteer staffing needs for departments and informs the Volunteer Manager of recruitment needs.
  • Creates and updates volunteer job descriptions and postings to maintain proper volunteer staffing levels as demand varies.
  • Orients new volunteers and ensures they are trained and coached to a level necessary to achieve the APL’s mission and goals.
  • Develops volunteer and intern training materials and makes recommendations for training and procedural protocol improvements.
  • Monitors and evaluates volunteer and intern performance and provides feedback; works with Volunteer Manager to address performance concerns and mediate conflicts between staff and volunteers.
  • Communicates updates and changes to volunteers via email, voicemail, and through Volgistics.

Provides training support to all animal support staff positions.

  • Works with supervisors to ensure all animal support team members (ARC, Animal Care, Behavior, Foster, Flow, Clinic, and Adoptions, etc.) receive uniform training per position.
  • Ensures all training checklists are completed within 90 days of hire.
  • Works with supervisors to ensure all new hires receive ALICE, Fear Free Animal Handling, and Defensive Dog Handling training.
  • Follows up with new employees to review the onboarding and training process and provide any necessary retraining.
  • Assists with in-house euthanasia training to ensure all new technicians are scheduled with a mentor in the euthanasia room and receive necessary hands-on training.

General Expectations

  • Represents the APL in a professional and courteous manner at all times. Provides quality service to customers, volunteers, and staff recognizing their individual contributions to the success of our organization.
  • Follows all safety guidelines to ensure a safe work environment for staff and living environment for animals. Takes immediate action to address any safety concern or noncompliance of safety rules that could put an employee, volunteer, client, animal, or the organization at risk.
  • Informs supervisor of special needs cases for potential public relations or direct mail pieces
  • Promotes communication and cooperation between APL departments.
  • Performs other special projects as assigned.
  • Performs euthanasia as assigned.
  • Maintains cleaning equipment, tools, and appliances.
  • Opens and closes the building as assigned.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.



  • High school diploma or equivalent preferred
  • Prior experience working with volunteers strongly preferred.
  • Prior experience training, educating, and coaching others strongly preferred.
  • Solid knowledge of Microsoft 365 applications to create and maintain comprehensive records and progress reports in a digital environment.
  • Demonstrated experience preparing high-level reports and presenting in a group setting.
  • Prior experience in animal behavior, health, handling, and care in the shelter environment.
  • Certified euthanasia technician or ability to become certified within six months of hire.
  • Fear Free Certified or must become certified within six months of hire.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Customer service focused.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a variety of people.
  • Ability to work with a computer in a Windows environment. Strong Office 365 user.
  • Knowledge of animal breeds, behavior, and handling.
  • Knowledge of animal health, able to identify illness preferred.
  • Ability to safely handle animals, including those with health and behavioral challenges.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to follow instructions.
  • Detail oriented and able to prioritize and perform duties efficiently and effectively.
  • Committed to maintaining the Cleveland Animal Protective League’s high standard of animal care and mission to foster compassion and end animal suffering.


EEOC: The Cleveland APL is an equal opportunity employer and is looking for diversity in qualified candidates for employment.

To see all open opportunities with the Cleveland APL, CLICK HERE.