Class of 2020

Duane is an avid hiker and spends much of his summer hiking in Denali Park

Duane G Mayes

State of Alaska Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

“I have been involved in the disability community for almost 50 years. I will always take the time to share my experiences and to guide new disability leaders to create positive change.”

We are proud to induct Duane G Mayes into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Duane Mayes, Director for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, began his career in social services just out of high school when he took a job in a nursing home. He found he loved the work, perhaps because he and his two siblings already had experience caring for their father, who had significant physical disabilities from polio. Also, both his parents are deaf. Mayes is fluent in American Sign Language, his first language.

Mayes went on to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation. Mayes moved to Alaska in 1981, where he worked for many years with the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He has 38 years of vocational rehabilitation experience, eight in the private sector and four as the owner of his own business. He went on to work for three years as the Operations Director with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education and then assumed the position of Division Director from 2010 to 2018 for Senior and Disabilities Services with the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services. Two years ago, Mayes made the decision to come back to the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is often saying this is where he truly belongs. Assisting Alaskans with disabilities in obtaining competitive and integrated employment is my passion.