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Shorter Professor becomes part of National Policy Conversation in Ghana

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ROME — A national debate over youth unemployment in Ghana now includes the input of a Shorter University professor.

On Jan. 17 Yaw Amponsah Adoo, a part of Shorter University’s Master of Management program faculty, wrote an article addressing the subject. Published in his home nation, Adoo's thoughts focused on a 10-point plan created by Ghana’s vice president, Mahamudu Bawumia, regarding youth unemployment. 

Like many West African nations, Ghana holds many resources yet deals with unemployment. The new government has been active in attacking the problem. However, Adoo felt a part of the population had been left out. As a result, he proposed an 11th point "including employment policies that benefit Ghanaian adult graduates and youth with disabilities and special needs.”

The Shorter University professor's comments gained national attention. Consequently, his words continue reverberating not only throughout Ghana, but Africa, North America, and South America.

Breaking the Internet

Ghana's new government has energized its young people, Adoo said in a video on Shorter's YouTube channel. In return, opportunities need to be created to capitalize on that enthusiasm. 

"The government has promised the need for young individuals to be employed," he related. "... We have a lot of young folks  – very vibrant – looking for opportunities to succeed. They are quite excited about the government giving them that opportunity."

Adoo's article, he joked, "broke the Internet" in Ghana and made him somewhat of a "policy superstar." 

"I'm not sure about that," he added, "but any attention we can get for individuals with disabilities ... is welcome."

 

Adoo's commentary acknowledges Bawumia's plan as doing well in addressing youth employment. His "11th point," Addo said, remembers those living with conditions such as autism, chronic illness, and mental health issues. Even so, he maintained, those shouldn't affect Ghanians' employment opportunities.

"As it is often said," he wrote, "disability is not inability; persons with disabilities still have abilities with which they can contribute to national development."

Return to Ghana

After living in the United States for 20 years, the last ten as a professor, Adoo returns to Ghana in March with his young family. Once there he hopes to meet with governmental officials and organizations to discuss practical ways to address challenges faced by those with disabilities and special needs.

In an interview with Caleb Britt, an intern with Shorter's Public Relations program, Adoo laid out how His relationship with Christ drives him in helping others. 

"I'm a Christian, and is based on a Christian foundation. More than 80 percent of Ghanians are Christians. ... Anything to do with Christ is a pathway to becoming a better person."

Adoo cited strong working relationships with President Don Dowless, Provost Don Martin, and other Shorter faculty. He hopes for future partnerships between the university and students in Ghana. 

Adoo's history as an educator has centered around employee work motivation and wellbeing, organizational change, and uncertain employment relations. Consequently, Shorter leaders nominated Adoo in 2016 for the school's Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award. The honor reflects his 15 years of experience in the areas of organizational leadership, professional development, and developmental disabilities. 

In addition, Adoo served as a member of the editorial board of The Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association, a peer-reviewed publication addressing public and community health, health education, and health promotion issues. He currently operates as founder and managing partner of Education and Management Consulting, LLC, (EMCLLC), an organizational development consulting and solutions company working with businesses and governments.

Dawn Tolbert, Shorter University associate vice president for University Communications, contributed to this report.

education, employment, Ghana, government, Shorter University, special needs

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