New York State
Partners in Policymaking

About Partners in Policymaking®

Partners in Policymaking® is an innovative national model of leadership training for people with developmental disabilities, parents and family members. Begun over twenty years ago by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities,, this program has continued to have a major impact on important issues in the field of developmental disabilities. The program is designed to provide state-of-the-art knowledge about issues and policies related to disability, and to develop participant competencies to become more effective in influencing policy development at all levels. The overall intent is to achieve a productive partnership between people with developmental disabilities, parents, and family members, and those in position to make policy.

About the NYS Partners in Policymaking® Program

Participants from throughout New York State are selected for inclusion in the training program. Selection is based on the individual's fit to the program as determined by the content of their application. The program is free of charge and is currently being offered in an interactive distance learning format. The Partners in Policymaking ® program provides an excellent opportunity for participants to improve skills to become more effective advocates, and prepares them to assume leadership roles in policymaking.

Partners attend a series of web-based training sessions during the course. Partners are expected to complete assignments between sessions and to commit to one major project during the course, to be completed in the following year. These projects may include activities such as serving an internship, serving on a board, organizing a letter writing campaign, or organizing special receptions or town meetings for public officials.

Online class gathering/learning community.

These sessions are for current class members to meet together, share resources, support and information relevant to a particular topic. Participants engage in small group work and practice presentation skills. For the Spring 2019 session, classes will meet weekly for 90 minute sessions, Thursday evenings from 5:00 - 6:30.

Graduation Criteria


  • Attend and active participate in all on-line learning community sessions
    • Complete all session evaluation surveys
    • Provide constructive feedback to classmates about their advocacy projects


  • Read introductory course module
  • Pick a topic for your personal advocacy project
  • Review content in every course module
  • Participate in on-line discussion forums
  • Review all assigned video content
  • Complete survey at the end of each module in curriculum

Field Work

  • Complete field work assignments for your selected focus topic

Personal Advocacy Project

  • Create personal advocacy statement
  • Work throughout the semester on advocacy project
  • Discuss project during online class sessions
  • Submit final advocacy project

Want to join?