Join a growing national network of advocates dedicated to ensuring the rights for every person living with a developmental disability today and for generations to come.

Learn More

What is NYS Partners in Policymaking®?

NYS Partners in Policymaking ® is a leadership and advocacy training program. It supports individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families in their efforts to make an impact on the issues they care about.

Who is Eligible to Participate
in NYS Partners in Policymaking®?

The Partners Program is open to adults with developmental disabilities in New York State, as well as their parents, family members, and caregivers. Applicants are chosen to join a class based on individual fit to the program as determined by the content of their applications. There is no charge to participate, but participants will need a computer and internet connection, as well as a commitment to study the online material and attend a series of ten online classes.

What Do Partners in Policymaking® Students Do?

Partners complete a series of training sessions. Most of the sessions are online, but there may be regional events with speakers that participants can attend in person if they wish. Partners complete assignments between each session, and plan an advocacy project that they will complete the year after their training ends.

On average partners should expect to spend about 15 hours per month on the course.

What Will I Learn?

Topics covered by sessions include:

  • History of disability and advocacy
  • Inclusive education
  • Service coordination and person-centered planning
  • Integrated employment
  • Supported living
  • Community organizing for inclusion

What are Partners in Policymaking® Classes Like?

When Do Partners Meet?

The Fall 2019 course will begin on September 5, 2019

The course will meet weekly, from 5-6:30 on Thursday evenings. The entire Partners class will gather online to view a webinar, share resources, support, and information relevant to the current topic. Participants will engage in small group work and practice their presentation and advocacy skills

Between sessions, participants will study topics via the Moodle online learning platform. Materials include readings, videos and assignments to be done in Moodle forums. Modules are available 24/7 and are completed at each participants chosen time and pace during the month.


Webinars focus on the current topic. They allow Partners to meet each other, ask questions, and share information. This is where Partners build their community together. Each webinar will be recorded and archived for future reference. Participants who miss a webinar class are responsible for viewing the archive and contacting the Program Coordinator to obtain any fieldwork assignments.

Online Course Materials

The course website provides learning materials in a variety of ways, and progress is tracked through the reading materials, video clips, forum discussions, online activities, and quizzes.

It is important for Partners to keep up with the course material, and notify the training coordinator if they are having trouble keeping up. We can find a way to support progress!

Why Should I Join NYS Partners in Policymaking®?

"Partners gave me the motivation to make proactive positive changes, instead of settling for status quo."

"I am more knowledgeable and confident in my advocacy efforts."

"I have been more involved in policy changes, as well as changes in my own life. I am more independent because of the Partners program."

Partnering Organizations