MARYVILLE, Mo. — Randy Lewis — a consultant, Fortune 50 executive and disability advocate — will visit Northwest Missouri State University to present its fall Ploghoft Diversity Lecture.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. Lewis will discuss ways educators can work with people with disabilities to help them develop skills and prepare them for joining the workforce. The program will include information relevant to education’s role in producing students for the workforce, the university said in a press release.
“It is important for our education candidates to see their role in the preparation of all students — including those with specific disabilities — for the future,” David Kiene, an associate professor of education at Northwest and chair of the Ploghoft Diversity Lecture Committee. “This includes the development of skills in the workplace. Teachers should be aware of the strategies and techniques needed to assist students with special needs so they are prepared to have productive careers beyond the classroom. This means the creation of inclusive classrooms that mirror workplaces that are open to all, no matter what disability a teacher or student may encounter.”
Before retiring in 2013, Lewis led Walgreens’ logistics division for 16 years, and pioneered a disability employment model in its distribution centers that resulted in 10 percent of its workforce consisting of people with disabilities. He recounts the process of implementing the model in his book, “No Greatness Without Goodness.”
In addition to remaining active in business and serving as a director of the Wendy’s restaurant chain, lewis developed the NOGWOG Disability Initiative, a disability hiring model for employers that connects people with disabilities to employers.
Lewis was recognized in 2011 by the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago as Leader of the Year, and the Order of the Silver Crescent — South Carolina’s highest award given to non-citizens — in 2008.
The Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series features speakers and activities that broaden the educational perspectives of Northwest teacher candidates and inform all students about the issues facing the education of students from diverse environments.