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Partners in Policymaking
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.
Do you want to make a difference?
- Are you a parent of a child with a disability or a person with a disability?
- Would you like to see a barrier-free society where everyone is a valued member of their community?
- Are you interested in promoting change within your community? Within the state?
If you answered yes to these questions, you might be interested in becoming one of a growing number of more than 600 Hoosiers who are graduates of Indiana’s Partners in Policymaking Academy
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.
The Academy is presented every other year by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. The next Academy is tentatively scheduled to begin in October, 2018.
What will I learn?
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 a commitment to:
- Attend eight monthly sessions in the Indianapolis area. Generally, sessions run every other year from October through May with each one taking place Friday from noon until 8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- Sign an agreement to attend all sessions and complete homework assignments, including a personal community project.
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, 35 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. If you are someone who can make this level of commitment, we invite you to apply to be a member of the next class by completing an application below.
Application and Additional Information
Applications for the Partners in Policymaking Academy of 2018-2019 is now closed.
The Selection Committee will be meeting at the end of June to review applications and select the Class of 2019. Applicants will be notified by email no later than July 1, 2018, as to whether or not they have been selected to participate in the class, or have been selected as an alternate. Because the Council typically receives twice as many applications as there are available spots, alternates are selected to fill spots that are vacated prior to the start of the program in October. Sign up for information about future opportunities with the Council by using our Contact Us page.