Derek Shields

Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)


Derek Shields is a certified Project Management Professional with twenty-two years of experience in disability, accessibility, employment and quality of life programs. 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, employer technical assistance and training and a host of other initiatives centered on improving quality of life for youth, adults and veterans with disabilities in the workplace, community and home.

More recently, Derek helped launch ForwardWorks, a disability, mentoring, training and performance management consultancy. In this capacity he joined the Department of Labor’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network for Disability Inclusion (EARN) team as a trainer for The Viscardi Center. A seasoned trainer and educator, Derek is EARN’s direct link with employers requesting customized technical assistance and training for their organizations. In this capacity, he prepares customized trainings for organizations across the country, delivering them both in-person and remotely.

Derek has worked across the federal sector providing project management, technical assistance, training and consulting services, including the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, the Department of Agriculture TARGET Center, the Social Security Administration Ticket to Work Program and a variety of planning, performance management, accessibility, marketing and communications and research projects across the federal sector.

Since 2014, Derek has Co-Chaired the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, an organization committed to increasing the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for youth and adults with disabilities. He is also a mentor in the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) Rising Leaders Mentoring Program, coordinates annual Disability Mentoring Day activities, and enjoys helping young people network from job search to job satisfaction.

Derek earned his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his Master’s in Management and Disability Services from the University of San Francisco. Follow Derek on Twitter @derekshieldsPMP & @DisMentors