Vocational Training Offered to Disabled Minnesotans and Parents of Young Children with Developmental Disabilities – Albert Lea Tribune

The comprehensive advocacy training course, Partners in Policymaking®, is now accepting applications from Minnesotans with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities. There is no cost for this program. Starting in September, the nationally recognized leadership training is delivered 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 laws and policies,” said Dr. Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. “As they gain experience advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, many have become leaders in their own communities.”

The Minnesota-inspired program is also offered in most states and several foreign countries.

National experts are invited to present and guide group participation exercises to emphasize learning. This highly rated leadership training is ideally suited to increase critical thinking, awareness of laws and procedures, and effective communication skills. Over the 35 year history, more than 1,100 Minnesotans have become leaders in their own communities, many have described as “life changing”. Participants become effective advocates for themselves, their children and other people with disabilities.

Sessions cover the history of the disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, and competitive employment. Individuals are considering how to influence county, state, and federal legislative processes. For convenience, monthly two-day sessions are held on Fridays and Saturdays, from September to May (no session in December). The March session takes place on a Sunday and Monday, when participants prepare and meet lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The costs of the Partners program are covered by a federal grant. Childcare and respite allowances are provided, and overnight accommodations are provided for those traveling from outside the metropolitan area to attend. Mileage is reimbursed and meals are provided. Sessions are held at the Crowne Plaza Aire, 3 Appletree Square in Bloomington, near the Mall of America and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Limited to 35 Minnesotans, participants are selected by a panel of Partners graduates and representatives of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The first session for the 2022 to 2023 program year is September 16-17. Local experts and nationally recognized leaders in the fields of inclusive education, community organizing, government processes and disability issues are among the presenters. Applications, to https://fs10.formsite.com/bfSJU5/efq0pytlzr/index.html, are expected before July 15.

“This program is based on the belief that systems change is best brought about by the efforts of those most affected, and we seek to equip these people with the tools to succeed in the public policy arena,” said Wieck.

Those selected to participate in the program must attend all sessions and complete their homework. For more information on class expectations or to obtain an application form, go to https://mn.gov/mnddc/partnersinpolicymaking/class40/index.html or contact Brenton Rice at [email protected] , or 651-242-6589 .

The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities started the Partners in Policymaking program in 1987 and, through its expansion to other states and countries, has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide.

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