More than 600 Hoosiers have graduated from the Indiana Partners in Policymaking Academy since it began in 1991. Partners is a national leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills and techniques to develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services and supports that are offered by state and local agencies and schools.
The Council is proud of our Indiana Partner graduates. Graduates are actively involved in all Council projects and initiatives including as members of the board. Partner grads are also advocating for better services and supports for themselves, their families and others in their communities. They give back by advocating as volunteers and paid staff for organizations and agencies across the state, by serving on state and local boards and committees, being appointed to Mayor’s and Governor’s Commissions, leading advocacy groups, working for Independent Living Centers, founding local and statewide organizations, promoting better school and government policies and much more.
The Partners in Policymaking Academy is a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills and techniques to develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services that you and/or your family use.
In monthly sessions, you will have the opportunity to 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 .Partners in Policymaking is about systems change – creating, working toward and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. This program is based on the belief that the most effective and enduring public policy decisions are made by the people who need and use services in partnership with policymakers.
It’s about becoming confident in yourself, competent in the knowledge and information you’ll receive, and comfortable in sharing the life experiences and expertise you bring to the program.
In general, session topics may include:
- History: independent living, parent movement, people first/self-advocates movement
- Education: IDEA, understanding special education, best practices in inclusive education
- State and local policy: services and legislative issues, preparing and giving testimony
- Best practices: supported living, person-centered planning, family supports, employment and assistive technology
- Federal policy and legislative issues: Americans with Disabilities Act, federal disability laws, effective communication with policymakers
- Community organizing: working with community groups, media relations, negotiating, creating change to impact society
Partners in Policymaking is based on a program developed by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Partners are widely recognized throughout the United States and overseas. The program is open to a limited number of people. Every other year, thirty-five Hoosiers with disabilities and family members are selected to participate in this Academy. If selected, hotel, travel, childcare and other related expenses are covered by the program.
Academy graduates agree that the commitment is well worth the life changes that result from the training program.