Groundbreaking Partners in Policymaking program seeks applicants

DEADLINE JULY 12 Many Minnesotans with disabilities and their family members have taken advantage of the groundbreaking Partners in Policymaking […]

Generic Article graphic with Access Press emblem


Many Minnesotans with disabilities and their family members have taken advantage of the groundbreaking Partners in Policymaking program. The deadline to apply for the 2024-2025 class is July 12. This will be the 42nd class. 

The program was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities 37 years ago. It has been offered nationally and internationally.  Through informative and interactive sessions, Partners classes provide leadership skills and the process of developing positive partnerships with elected officials and other policymakers who make decisions about the services that program participants and/or their families use.  Partners is considered to be accessible, informative and empowering. Since 1987, almost 1,200 self-advocates and parents have graduated in Minnesota. 

Applicants must meet set requirements. Requirements include a commitment to attend all eight sessions; an interest in learning and practicing new skills in a comfortable and safe environment, and a desire to build and strengthen a network of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Applicants must also have a willingness to learn from national and state experts who share the same vision and values.

The program is designed for parents and legal guardians of young children with developmental  disabilities and adults with disabilities. Sessions start September 20-21 and continue through May. No class is held in December. 

Learn about a wide array of topics including history of disability and services; history of various disability rights movements; person-centered thinking and planning; inclusive education; governmental roles; civil discourse and much more. Class members must attend all weekend sessions. 

Classes are held at the Crowne Plaza Aire, 3 Appletree Square, Bloomington. The program is free to participants, with costs are covered in part by a federal appropriation from the Administration for Community Living to MNCDD.

Overnight accommodations are provided for people who lives in Greater Minnesota are free. Class members are matched and housed in double occupancy rooms. Mileage reimbursement is also available for class members. Also covered are meals, speaker handouts, resource materials, publications and interpreter or language translation services. 

Reimbursement up to a maximum dollar amount per weekend session is available for participants needing respite, child care or personal care attendant services when another funding source doesn’t cover such costs. The program does not provide onsite child care services. Family members are not permitted to stay at the hotel during the weekend training sessions unless a family member is serving as a personal assistant to a class member. 

After each session, a homework assignment that builds on and supports the topics addressed must be completed by each class member and turned in at the following session. 

Speakers are national and state subject matter experts or practitioners. 

How are participants chosen? A review committee, which includes Partners graduates and representatives from MNCDD, selects participants based on several criteria. Class size is limited to 35 participants. Decisions will be made by August 9. 

Apply online and learn more at 
Or contact Brenton Rice, Odyssey Group, at [email protected] or 651-242-6589 

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Access is Love. Celebrate Pride with MCD. June 29 & 30.
Many former refugees are helping to make Minnesota a better place for all. Learn how at