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.

Participants complete a series of training sessions, primarily through web-based instruction, during the course of the year. Partners are expected to complete assignments between sessions and to commit to one major project during their training year, 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. Upon graduation, members join the Partners Graduates group and become eligible for follow up activities and advanced training.


Tentative Class Schedule for 2015

Classes will be held at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Office in Las Vegas, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

January 17

Session 1 – History of Developmental Disabilities & People First Language

February 28

Session 2 - Grassroots Advocacy & Organizing & Federal Legislation & Policy

March 21

Session 3 - Inclusive Education, the I.E.P., Transition,  Strengthening the Parent-Professional Partnership

April 18

Session 4 – Guardianship, Service Coordination, Making Your Case, State Legislation

May 16

Session 5 - Positive Behavior Supports, Assistive Technology Supports

June 20

Session 6 – Future Planning & Self-Determination, Facilitating 101

July 18

Session 7 - Creating Inclusive Communities & Customized Employment

August 15

Session 8 - Working with the Media, Community Organizing, Serving on Boards, & Introduction to Parliamentary Procedures


Partners in Policymaking is about…

  • Leadership skills and developing positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services that you and/ or your family use.
  • Systems change—creating, working towards, and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities.
  • Becoming confident in oneself, competent in the knowledge and information received, and comfortable in sharing the life experiences and expertise one brings to the program.
Nevada Partners will:
  • Commit to attend nine Saturday sessions, one Saturday per month from January through August, 2015.
  • Complete homework assignments between sessions.
  • Complete e-learning course. (technical assistance will be provided if needed)
  • Commit to a project to be completed after graduation.

Visit Our Picture Gallery from 2012 – 2009 of Partners in Policymaking



This project is supported by the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities through grant funds from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families CFDA # 93.630. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NGCDD or Administration on Developmental Disabilities.