With twenty-three years of experience in disability, accessibility, employment and quality of life programs, Derek has worked in support of global accommodations programs, wounded warrior transition services, domestic violence programs, vocational and rehabilitation research projects for Social Security beneficiaries and veterans, and employer technical assistance and training initiatives centered on improving quality of life for youth and adults with disabilities in the workplace, community and home.
Currently, Derek is a Trainer and Consultant for the Department of Labor’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). As part of The Viscardi Center team providing technical assistance to employers across the nation, Derek provides training and guidance to help employers implement or enhance disability employment inclusion strategies. Learn more at www.askearn.org.
He has also provided program management support services to the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) for 23 years and the USDA TARGET Center for 18 years. Both organizations focus on needs assessments, accessible technology, universal design and leveraging modern platforms, networks and tools to enhance productivity of employees and customers with disabilities.
Derek also serves as the Director of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, a membership organization focused on increasing the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring as a disability inclusion strategy. Learn more at www.disabilitymentors.org.
He also provides consulting support to the following clients and projects:
• • Partners for Youth with Disabilities | Inclusive mentoring projects
• • World Institute on Disability | Employment and Economic Empowerment (E3) Initiative, International Programming and External Relations
• • Oath | Inclusive focus groups and strategic alliances in support of The Disability Collection Initiative with Getty Images
• • Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 | Disability in Media Initiative
Derek leads the business development and operations of ForwardWorks Consulting, LLC, a Virginia-based project management and disability inclusion consulting firm. Learn more: www.forwardworks.net.
A certified Project Management Professional, Derek earned his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his Master’s in Management and Disability Services from the University of San Francisco.
Connect with Derek on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/derekshields and Twitter at @derekshieldsFWD.