- Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Amber Alert
Amber Alert - TEST

Governor's Council for People with Disabilities


Partners in Policymaking

Due to budget limitations and other priorities, the Indiana Partners in Policymaking program is no longer active. It is unknown when another class will be scheduled. Below you will find historical information about the program as well as information about other similar types of advocacy training offered on line or through other organizations, including the Council.

More than 600 Hoosiers have graduated from the Indiana Partners in Policymaking Academy since it began in 1991. Partners is a national leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills and techniques to develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services and supports that are offered by state and local agencies and schools. Partners promote the values of integration/inclusion and the belief that all people with disabilities should be respected and contributing members of their communities.

The Council is proud of our Indiana Partner graduates. Graduates are actively involved in all Council projects and initiatives including as members of the board. Partner grads are also advocating for better services and supports for themselves, their families and others in their communities. They give back by advocating as volunteers and paid staff for organizations and agencies across the state, by serving on state and local boards and committees, being appointed to Mayor’s and Governor’s Commissions, leading advocacy groups, working for Independent Living Centers, founding local and statewide organizations, promoting better school and government policies and much more.

Do you want to make a difference?

  • Are you a parent of a child with a disability or a person with a disability?
  • Would you like to see a barrier-free society where everyone is a valued member of their community?
  • Are you interested in promoting change within your community? Within the state?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might be interested in becoming one of a growing number of more than 500 Hoosiers who are graduates of Indiana’s Partners in Policymaking Academy

Partner ClassThe Partners in Policymaking Academy is a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills and techniques to develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services that you and/or your family use.

In monthly sessions, you will have the opportunity to practice new skills in a comfortable and safe environment, build a network of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences, and learn from national experts.

Partners in Policymaking is about systems change –creating, working toward and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. This program is based on the belief that the most effective and enduring public policy decisions are made by the people who need and use services in partnership with policymakers.

Partner PresentationIt’s about becoming confident in yourself, competent in the knowledge and information you’ll receive, and comfortable in sharing the life experiences and expertise you bring to the program.

The Academy is presented every other year by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities.

What will I learn?

Partner PresentationIn general, session topics may include:

  • History: independent living, parent movement, people first/self-advocates movement
  • Education: IDEA, understanding special education, best practices in inclusive education
  • State and local policy: services and legislative issues, preparing and giving testimony
  • Best practices: supported living, person-centered planning, family supports, employment and assistive technology
  • Federal policy and legislative issues: Americans with Disabilities Act, federal disability laws, effective communication with policymakers
  • Community organizing: working with community groups, media relations, negotiating, creating change to impact society

Program Outline

Partners in Policymaking is a commitment to:

  • Attend eight monthly sessions in the Indianapolis area. Generally, sessions run every other year from October through May with each one taking place Friday from noon until 8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
  • Sign an agreement to attend all sessions and complete homework assignments, including a personal community project.

Partners in Policymaking is based on a program developed by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Partners are widely recognized throughout the United States and overseas. The program is open to a limited number of people. Every other year, 35 Hoosiers with disabilities and family members are selected to participate in this Academy. If selected, hotel, travel, childcare and other related expenses are covered by the program.

Academy graduates agree that the commitment is well worth the life changes that result from the training program. If you are someone who can make this level of commitment, we invite you to apply to be a member of the next class by contacting the Council’s office for an application form:

Application and Additional Information

Click on the links below for more details about the program or to apply:

Partners Application: PDF | MS Word | Online Form
This application is an Adobe interactive PDF, an electronic form that allows you to complete the form and submit the data via email.

Partners Brochure: PDF
Partner Fact Sheet: MS Word
National Partner's In Policymaking website

Partners Flyer: MS Word
Partners Flyer with Contact Info: MS Word

If you need more information, an article for a newsletter, a fact sheet or brochure to distribute, call Partners in Policymaking at 317-232-7770 or e-mail