With twenty-four years of experience in disability, accessibility and employment policy and programs, Derek provides program management, training and technical assistance support for disability inclusion projects. He 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. He has also managed multi-million dollar complex federal projects while overseeing all staff, compliance, quality and risk systems.
Derek is a trainer and consultant for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) initiative. Derek provides strategic planning and coordination to intermediary organizations across the nation, assisting them in driving valuable training and resources for their business members. In this capacity, Derek designs and delivers content through webinars, recordings and other informational tools to move employment pipelines and other Inclusion@Work strategies and practices forward. Since joining the EARN team, Derek has provided more than 50 training sessions to over 2,700 employer representatives.
Previously, Derek provided program management support services to the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) for 23 years and the USDA TARGET Center for 20 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 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 and is the Co-Founder of the Disability Media Technology Alliance, a new organization launching in May 2019 to bridge accessibility and inclusion efforts in media and technology markets.
Derek also has supported several large disability inclusion and awareness projects for an array of clients, including Disability:IN; Lights! Camera! Access! Disability in Media Initiative; Partners for Youth with Disabilities; Verizon Media Group’s Disability Collection Initiative with Getty Images; and the World Institute on Disability.
Derek co-founded ForwardWorks Consulting with his wife, Mary Beth Shields. Together, they coordinate the business development and operations of ForwardWorks Consulting, LLC, a project management and disability inclusion consulting firm.
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.