It’s time to apply for advocacy skills training as deadline is July 15 

Friday, July 15 is the deadline to apply for the 2022-2023 comprehensive advocacy training course, Partners in Policymaking. Applications are […]

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Friday, July 15 is the deadline to apply for the 2022-2023 comprehensive advocacy training course, Partners in Policymaking. Applications are sought from Minnesotans with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities. 

The program is free and starts in September. It is presented in eight sessions over nine months. 

“We will help individuals be more effective in advocating for their needs. The result is self-confidence and understanding of disability law and policies,” said Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (MNCDD). “As they gain experience in speaking up for people with disabilities, many have become leaders in their own communities.” 

The Minnesota-inspired program is offered in most states and several countries around the world.  

National experts are invited to present and guide group participation exercises to emphasize learning. This highly acclaimed leadership training is meant to increase critical thinking, awareness of laws and procedures and effective communication skills. 

Over its 35-year history, more than 1,100 Minnesotans have become leaders in their own communities. More than 27,000 people worldwide have taken part. Many have described it as “life changing.”  

Limited to 35 Minnesotans, participants are selected by a panel of Partners graduates and council representatives. Applications are available at 

Those selected to participate in the program must attend all sessions and complete homework assignments. For further information on class expectations, go to or contact Brenton Rice at [email protected], or 651-242-6589. 

“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,” said Wieck. 

Sessions cover the history of disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, and competitive employment. Individuals learn how to influence county, state and federal legislative processes. 

Most monthly two-day sessions are held Fridays and Saturdays from September to May, with no session in December. The March session is a Sunday and Monday, when participants prepare for and meet with legislators at the state capitol. 

Costs for the Partners program are covered by a federal grant. Child care and respite allowances are provided, as are overnight accommodations for those who travel from outside the metro area to attend. Mileage is reimbursed and meals are provided. Sessions are held in Bloomington. 

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