Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to participate in this program?
This program is designed for parents of young children with developmental disabilities and for adults with disabilities.
What is the time commitment required of those who are chosen to participate in this program?
Participants are required to attend eight weekend sessions (September through May with no session in December). The sessions run from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Day One and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Day Two. (Note: Sessions are held on Friday and Saturday except in March when the session is held on Sunday and Monday.)
Where are the weekend sessions held?
Class 36 weekend sessions will be held at the Crown Plaza Aire, 3 Appletree Square, Bloomington, MN 55425.
Is there a fee to attend this eight-month training?
Partners participants do not pay a fee. Training program costs are covered in part by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (DD Council).
Do I have to pay for my overnight accommodations and travel expenses?
Overnight accommodations are provided for participants who drive a distance to attend. Class members are matched and double occupancy rooms are provided. Mileage is reimbursed. Refreshment breaks, two lunches and one dinner are provided during each weekend session. A continental breakfast is provided for participants who stay overnight.
Is there financial assistance available to help pay for respite/child care or personal care attendants?
The Partners program does not provide on-site services. However, reimbursement is available for these services up to a maximum per monthly amount.
Is there work to be done between monthly weekend sessions?
After each weekend session, a homework assignment that builds on and supports the topics addressed must be completed and turned in at the following weekend session.
Who does the training?
Speakers are local and national subject matter experts or practitioners.
What is the application process?
Recruitment for the next class of Partners usually begins in the Spring. Adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities are eligible to apply. The application is made available and can be completed online; a print version can be downloaded and mailed. An application brochure can also be sent out via regular mail. The classroom program runs from September to May, one weekend session each month with no weekend session in December.
How are class participants selected?
A Review Committee, that includes Partners graduates and DD Council representatives, selects participants based on several criteria. Class size is limited to 35 participants.
Why take the class?
Graduates find that they learn how to work more effectively with schools, government agencies, and community groups. They take what they have learned in Partners, the best practices knowledge presented and leadership skills taught, and apply that as they work in partnership with their elected public officials and other policymakers to make positive changes in their own lives, for their children, and their community as a whole.
What do participants gain?
- A powerful network of new friends, supporters, resources, and mentors
- Advocacy/self advocacy, leadership, and communication skills
- Knowledge about best practices in the field of developmental disabilities, how government works, and how to educate and work together with legislators and other policymakers at all levels of government to bring about systems change.
What does Partners in Policymaking require from participants?
Partners is a commitment to attend eight weekend sessions, practice new skills in a comfortable and safe environment, build a network of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences, and learn from national experts who share a common vision about Partners and core values about people with disabilities.
Do people find this program worthwhile?
The impact of the Partners program is demonstrated through their stories and testimonials contained in Partners in Policymaking® Changing Lives. Changing Policies. A total of 982 self advocates and parents are Minnesota Partners graduates. With the graduation of Partners Class 35, there may be 1,014 Partners graduates across the state.