Willard K. Walker, former City of Lansing Human Relations and Community Services department director and State of Michigan executive, Willard K. Walker, is a senior policy consultant at Public Policy Associates (PPA), Incorporated, a national research and development firm.
He is currently working on diversity training for the Lansing CEO Diversity Council to advance the leadership capacity of selected CEOs in the greater Lansing community to maximize diversity within their own organizations and to facilitate their participation in public policy discussions and decisions that lead to systematic social reform and positive community outcomes.
Mr. Walker was honored on January 19, 2010 at the 25th Anniversary of Lansing, Michigan's first luncheon to giving tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy. He was instrumental in the formulation of the Greater Lansing Area Holiday Commission.
He is also providing diversity training to all employees of the Lansing Board of Water and Light to define diversity, explain the importance of diversity as a business strategy, explain bias and prejudice dynamics leading to stereotyping, and identify the impact of attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. Other current projects of Mr. Walker include evaluation services of the Kent School Services Network for the Kent Intermediate School District and a crime analysis evaluation for the Michigan Department of Human Services, Bureau of Juvenile Justice.
Also as a part of his work with PPA, Mr. Walker has also provided research services for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies addressing the plight of young males of color. His work with the Joint Center has developed into a collaborative effort between Jane Adams Hull House of Chicago, Illinois and Ingham County Health Department of Lansing Michigan, to develop strategies that address policies, procedures, and programs that hinder young people of color from participating fully in major life systems. Particular emphasis is placed on issues related to structured racism.
Mr. Walker conceived and is completing work on a project for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation entitled “Engaging Students of Color in Michigan's New Economy,” an effort to develop strategies to provide students of color greater opportunities to prepare for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers of Michigan's new economy. Mr. Walker's current role for this conceived project is to establish working partnerships to ensure the success of the project should it move to the implementation process.
With a long history as a social justice activist, Mr. Walker has engaged in desegregation activities with the Birmingham (Alabama) Urban League. He also worked as a research associate for Systems Research, Inc., as deputy director of the Birmingham Urban League, and as a mathematics teacher for the Chicago Public Schools. Mr. Walker is the president and a member of the Founding Board of Directors of The Imagine Fund, a scholarship granting organization which facilitates diversity in higher education and CEO of the Greater Lansing Area Commission on Race and Diversity. He also was a founding member and the first chair person of the Greater Lansing Area Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission serving from 1986-1991.
As a principle partner of W.K.W. Consultant Group, Mr. Walker provided consulting services such as recruitment and retention of African American teachers in urban districts, development of a coordinated recruitment planning process for urban districts, and discussion on a specific curriculum for urban students through Grand Valley State University. While consulting for the C. S. Mott Foundation, he worked on school-improvement issues for Flint Community Schools, developed and implemented a communitywide antiracism strategy with major agencies in Flint, and provided capacity building and other assistance for community organizations.
Mr. Walker has held several positions with the State of Michigan, including director of the state's School-to-Work Office. For the Michigan Department of Commerce, he served as director for the Office of Business and Education Coordination and director of human resources. He also served as deputy director of the Neighborhood Builders Alliance where he developed policies and procedures to implement programs designed specifically to assist urban areas of the state that targeted program efforts in three areas: youth activities, abandoned houses, and employment.
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For the Michigan Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment and Training, Mr. Walker served as assistant to the director and director of program evaluation and planning. He also served as a training consultant for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Michigan Department of Education. During his tenure, Mr. Walker implemented section 503 and 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which established state-wide equal employment rights for people with disabilities.
Mr. Walker holds a bachelor's degree from Albany State University, Albany, Georgia and both a Master of labor and industrial relations and a Master of arts from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.