The free training has eight sessions from September to May. The training is limited to 35 Minnesotans.
“We aim for self-confidence and understanding of disability law and policies. This will help individuals be more effective in advocating for their needs,” said Dr. Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. “As they gain experience in speaking up for people with disabilities, many have become leaders in their own communities.”
The leadership training utilizes national and state experts and group participation, according to a Council on Developmental Disabilities news release.
Monthly sessions bring change
The sessions have lessons on the history of disability and advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living and customized employment. Individuals also consider how to influence county, state and federal legislative processes.
The monthly two-day sessions are held on Fridays and Saturdays. The March session is a Sunday and Monday when participants meet with their state legislators at the Capitol.
“This program is based on the belief that systems change is best brought about through the efforts of those most affected by them, and we seek to arm these individuals with the tools needed to be successful in the public policy arena,” Wieck said.
The program costs are covered by a federal grant. There are childcare and respite allowances, overnight accommodations, mileage reimbursements and provided meals, according to the release.
How to apply
Participants are selected by a panel of program graduates and representatives of the Council on Developmental Disabilities. Those selected must attend all sessions and complete homework assignments.
You can apply for the program at mn.gov/mnddc/partnersinpolicymaking/class39/index.html. Applications are due by July 9.
The Council on Developmental Disabilities introduced the Partners in Policymaking program in 1987 and has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide including 1,100 Minnesotans.