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 20 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 were selected for participation in the NYS Partners in Policymaking® program, which was offered from 2010–2019. Selection was based on an individual’s fit to the program as determined by the content of their application. The program was free of charge and offered in an interactive distance-learning format. Participants improved their skills to become more effective advocates and to assume leadership roles in policymaking.

During the training program, students attended a series of web-based training sessions, which included small group work and an opportunity to practice presentation skills. They were expected to do assignments between sessions and to complete a major advocacy-related project. Examples of these projects were completing an internship, serving on a board, and spearheading a letter writing campaign, as well as organizing special receptions or town meetings for public officials.

NYS Partners in Policymaking® Legacy

Over the course of 10 years, hundreds of people participated in the NYS Partners in Policymaking program. Approximately 500 people completed the program and became Partner Graduates!

Partner graduates continue to be actively involved in the Partners network through local meetings and social media connections, and as leaders of regional groups. Graduates have indefinite access to the online course curriculum and its resources, allowing them to serve as facilitators of local advocacy groups in their community. (For more information on activity in your region, contact