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STATEWIDE ADVOCACY SKILLS AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING OFFERED TO MINNESOTANS WITH DISABILITIES AND PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Nationally recognized Partners in Policymaking® program opens for applications, offered at no cost
To Increase their knowledge and confidence, and gain new tools and strategies to better advocate for their needs, Minnesotans with disabilities, self advocates, and parents of young children with developmental disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Partners in Policymaking® leadership training program. Sessions are held monthly over eight months, starting in September 2017.
This groundbreaking program was developed by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Graduates report that they gained a greater understanding of disability law and policies, and increased their self confidence in advocating for their needs,” said Dr. Colleen Wieck, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council. “Many have become leaders in their own communities as they speak up for people with disabilities.” The Minnesota-inspired program is also offered in most states and a number of foreign countries.
Described by many as life-changing, the highly acclaimed and finely-tuned leadership training taps into national experts, and utilizes group participatory learning experiences. There is no cost for participants. In its 30-year history, it has helped more than 900 Minnesotans to become effective advocates for themselves, their children, and others with disabilities.
Sessions cover the history of the disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, competitive employment, and avenues to influence county, state and federal legislative processes. To make participation convenient, the two-day sessions are held on Fridays and Saturdays, from September to May (with no session in December), except for a Sunday and Monday session in March when participants prepare and meet with legislators at the Capitol.
Costs for the Partners program are covered by a federal grant. Child care and respite allowances are given, and overnight accommodations are also provided for those who travel from outside the metro area to attend. Mileage is reimbursed and meals are also provided. Sessions are held at the Crowne Plaza Aire, at 3 Appletree Square in Bloomington, near the Mall of America and the MSP International Airport.
Limited to 40 Minnesota residents, the class members are selected by a panel of Partners graduates and representatives of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The first session for the 2017 to 2018 program year is September 15 to 16. Local experts and nationally recognized leaders in school inclusion, community organizing, governmental processes, and disability issues are among the presenters. The application deadline is July 1, 2017.
“This program is based on the belief that systems change is best brought about through the efforts of those most affected by them, and we seek to arm these individuals with the tools needed to be successful in the public policy arena,” said Wieck.
Those selected to participate in the program must attend all sessions and complete homework assignments. For further information, contact Brenton Rice at email@example.com, or 651-242-6589. The application is available at the website and can be completed online.
The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities introduced the Partners in Policymaking program in 1987, and, through expansion to other states and countries, has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide.
Class 34 Partners Graduates Featured on Disabled and Proud, KFAI Radio Program
On May 25, 2017, four Class 34 Partners in Policymaking ® graduates were featured on the KFAI radio program, Disabled and Proud. They each spoke about why they applied to participate in this leadership training program, their personal experiences, and the many benefits they all received – knowledge gained, communication skills and confidence in advocating effectively about a range of disability issues, and meeting with and educating elected officials on policy issues.
June 1 , 2017
The New Hampshire Leadership Series is based on the Partners in Policymaking® program. This study looks at the impact of intensive leadership training on the level of knowledge gained by participants, their involvement in advocacy activities, and their vision for the future. These are all critical components of the Partners program, and a foundation for building and strengthening partnerships with elected officials and other policymakers to realize positive systems change. Read the Article >> (9/23/16)
Partners in Policymaking®
Changing Lives. Changing Policies.
Since the Partners program was created in Minnesota in 1987, more than 27,000 self advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities have graduated nationally and internationally. They comprise a network of trained advocates and leaders, working in partnership with their elected officials to positively change the way people with disabilities live, work, and are educated; and enjoy the benefits of being actively involved in their communities.
On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this book traces the history of the Partners program. Through a collection of stories and testimonials, Partners graduates share the impact of the program on their lives as well as the many ways that the ADA has resulted in their greater inclusion and integration into the community and society at large. (7/28/15)
Download and read the book (accessible PDF)
The Fight for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities
"The Fight for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities" is a compilation of the "Moments in Disability History," now presented as a free Webinar. This one hour presentation is an accounting of the key events and influential leaders who pursued the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here also are the many personal stories of discrimination, and reflections on the lives of individuals with disabilities who experienced only isolation and segregation but who also envisioned an inclusive society that would recognize them as fully capable and productive first class citizens.
The Webinar can be used by anyone – students, professionals, law schools, and CLE instructors as well as self advocates and family members. There is no need to review the entire Webinar in a single sitting; you can review sections as time permits.
"Telling Your Story"
App Available Now for iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, and Android Tablet and Phone
Making Your Case, the print publication, was created in 1994. This was the first of many tools used in the Partners in Policymaking program that focused on specific techniques and insights for effective communication skills in the legislative process and the many ways to positively influence public policy at all levels of government.
Both the "Telling Your Story" app and the Partners in Making Your Case online course, released in 2003, are using different technologies based on the original publication. They all serve as tools for making those critical connections with your elected public officials and building positive partnerships in the policymaking process.
- HISTORY: Additional insights into the origins and evolution of institutions, the rise of the institutional model, and the realities of congregated, segregated, and isolated living conditions; and the movements that challenged perceptions and changed the thinking about individuals with disabilities.
- INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: General resources about special education and state specific resources about related issues. Inclusive education covers transition and post secondary education.
- THE COUNTY (LOCAL GOVERNMENT) ROLE IN DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES: Programs, services, and supports available to individuals with developmental disabilities and families (state specific) and delivered by the county/local government; a few national resources are included.
- PERSONAL LIVING, AND SUPPORTED AND CUSTOMIZED EMPLOYMENT: The full range of housing options, housing rights, and universal design are included as well as job searching and finding employment in diverse business environments from an employee/employer perspective.
- COMMUNITY ORGANIZING: The concepts and principles behind community organizing are at the heart of systems change, and take into account the many skills and abilities that each person brings to the neighborhood and community for the common good of all.
- STATE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS: A citizenship government relies on the partnerships and relationships of elected public officials and other policymakers, and their constituents to influence and realize positive systems change about state legislative issues.
- FEDERAL ISSUES: Policies that affect individuals with developmental disabilities and families in all states require that partnerships and relationships are established and strengthened with members of a state's Congressional delegation.
- GRADUATION – APPLYING THE PARTNERS EXPERIENCE: Tips, tools, and guidelines for making the best use of the new knowledge and practical skills acquired during the Partners program.
- The University of Kansas Research & Training Center on Independent Living has created a Spanish version of Guidelines for Writing and Reporting about People with Disabilities (People First language).
Online Training Courses
The Partners Online Training Courses have been converted to a Learning Management System (LMS), and are available at PartnersOnlineCourses.com.
Please take the courses at this address.
Partners in Making Your Case: Learn the critical skills to be an effective advocate for positive public policy changes that affect individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Available in Spanish
Available in American Sign Language
Partners in Education: Learn about the history of education for children with developmental disabilities, the laws about special education and your children's rights, and how to navigate the special education system to best prepare your child(ren) for an independent future and employment.
Available in Spanish
Partners in Employment: Learn the practical skills to finding competitive employment, creating a resumé that reflects your skills and abilities, preparing for a successful job interview, and evaluating a job offer.
Available as an EZ Read version
Available in Spanish
Partners in Time: Learn how the successes, mistakes, and actions of earlier generations have shaped our world; how services, programs, and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have evolved over time; and how to apply these past lessons to create a brighter future.
Available in Spanish
Partners in Living: Learn how to create a meaningful life for yourself by exploring four important elements – self determination, family support, community living, and assistive technology.
Available in Spanish
Activities and Highlights
The Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council created a Junior Partners in Policymaking program for young adults with and without disabilities, ages 15-22. A Delaware newspaper published this article about the program.
In this talk radio show interview, Dan Habib speaks about the impact that Partners in Policymaking had on his life. Dan is the director and producer of the documentary, Including Samuel.
The Delaware Partners in Policymaking program offers a similar program for young adults. These Junior Partners graduates are organizing and strengthening their networks to assure that young adults have a voice in the schools and educational systems that are preparing them for their futures. Personalized learning and what makes a great education are not only their goals but sharing their teaching and learning with other students, teachers and parents to make a difference beyond the classroom walls. About Student Voice is creating an international network of empowered students and giving them the tools to use their voice in policy discussions and decisions.
Deborah Davis is a 2012 West Virginia Partners in Policymaking graduate. Her testimonial not only captures the many benefits she received from her Partners learning experience but sets out a Plan of Action that conveys both challenges and an inspirational message.
Ellen Coulston, a Delaware Partners graduate, is helping to make sure that students with disabilities are equipped with the self advocacy skills and positive attitudes to achieve their personal life goals.
Shelby Nurse and her dad, Florida residents, were keynote co-presenters at the Assistive Technology Employment Summit in Bethesda, Maryland on May 8, 2013. Shelby's story is another example of the value and benefits of the Partners in Policymaking program, and how assistive technology is changing lives and making so many personal life goals a reality for individuals with disabilities. A snapshot of Shelby's college life is available at http://youtu.be/KH5AyO6gk3E
A person centered planning approach, Circles of Support, led to meaningful action plans and very positive differences in the lives of two individuals with developmental disabilities in the United Kingdom.
See All Activities and Highlights >>
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