LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas ADA Resource Center for Equity & Accessibility is bringing a national award-winning speaker to KU as part of its National Disability Employment Awareness Celebration this week.
Derek Shields, president of ForwardWorks Consulting in Washington, D.C., will present “Empowering All Through Mentoring,“ which will cover a number of topics centering on disability, mentoring, inclusion and employment. Shields is a national expert on mentoring and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace. He will provide attendees with a foundation on mentoring as well as guidance on how use of mentoring fosters a climate of inclusivity and change. The event will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union.
Shields has received former Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award and former President George W. Bush’s Excellence in Government Award. Shields is the director and co-founder of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition. Through his work he has led workshops on mentoring and its advantages in the workplace and has served as a mentor.
Because disabilities take a variety of forms that are often unseen, this event is helpful to anyone who works with others. There is no RSVP required to attend this event, and everyone is invited to come learn about mentoring and inclusivity. Light refreshments will be available during the Q&A conversation near the end of the program.
This event also signals the start of a pilot mentoring program at KU. The program – Mentoring Circles for Disability Inclusion – will be application-based for KU employees. Within these circles employees will be able to learn together about topics of inclusivity, accessibility and equity as well as teach others through personal learned experience. With the completion of this program, individuals will earn a certificate titling them an Ambassador for Proactive Inclusion. With the certificate they will then be able to lead their offices and communities toward greater accessibility and inclusion.