Willard K. Walker has extensive experience working with workforce development, state policy, school-to-work, and race and diversity issues. He is a member of PPA's five-person leadership team, which sets strategic direction for the company.
Master of labor and industrial relations and master of arts degrees from Michigan State University. Bachelor’s degree from Albany State University, Albany, Ga.
Also notable: Mr. Walker was the recipient of the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award by the Greater Lansing Area Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission.
He has provided consulting services to improve recruitment and retention of African American teachers, including development of a coordinated recruitment planning process for urban districts. As a consultant to the C.S. Mott Foundation, he worked on school-improvement issues for Flint Community Schools, developed and implemented a communitywide anti-racism strategy, and provided capacity building and other assistance for community organizations.
Mr. Walker is currently providing training on issues of inclusion, equity, and diversity for the Lansing Board of Water & Light; coordinating an Employer Conference on Workplace Diversity in the Lansing area; and assisting in a crime analysis evaluation for the Michigan Department of Human Services, Bureau of Juvenile Justice.
In recent years his work has included addressing the plight of young males of color in a project initiated through the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; evaluating the Kent School Services Network for the Kent Intermediate School District; and providing diversity training for the Lansing CEO Diversity Council.
Before joining PPA, Mr. Walker 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 of the Office of Business and Education Coordination, director of human resources, and deputy director of the Neighborhood Builders Alliance. For the Michigan Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment and Training, he served as assistant to the director and as director of program evaluation and planning. He also served as a training consultant for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Michigan Department of Education.
Mr. Walker has also worked as a research associate for Systems Research, Inc., and as assistant director of the Urban League in Birmingham, Alabama. He was also a mathematics teacher for the Chicago Public Schools.