Get Involved with Partners!

Wisconsin Partners in Policymaking is a six-session advocacy and systems change training program designed to develop a group of future leaders across the state, who are able to work with legislators and communities on policies and initiatives that will support the full participation and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of life.

Who can participate?

Partners in Policymaking is designed for adults with developmental disabilities and family members of children and youth with developmental disabilities ages birth to 21.

Partners is an initiative of the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD). Nationwide, nearly 15,000 graduates are part of a growing network of community leaders and decision-makers serving on policymaking committees, commissions, and boards at local, state, and national levels.

What is expected of participants?

Partners are expected to make a commitment to:

  1. Attend all two-day sessions and complete all homework assignments. Attendance at all regular sessions is required, from Friday at 1 p.m. to Saturday at 4 p.m. Only individuals selected to participate in the program will be able to attend (with supports as needed). Aside from attendant care, additional family members do not attend sessions and should not plan on staying at the hotel with participants. The 2016-17 session dates are listed in the application form.
  2. Participate in networking, advocacy activities, interviews, readings (which are offered in alternative formats), and other projects.
  3. Develop and implement a project that results in systems change that will improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Core Values

Participants agree to support core values laid out in the federal Developmental Disabilities Act. Please affirm that you support each value before applying for Partners. Go here for the core values.

What is the Cost?

Partners is funded by BPDD and BPDD covers costs associated with the training, lodging, meals, and materials.

Who can apply?

Individuals who are highly motivated to create more inclusive communities AND are:

  • Parents, grandparents, or primary caregivers of children under the age of 21 who have developmental disabilities,
  • Adults with developmental disabilities
  • Siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities
  • We are seeking cultural and geographic diversity within the guidelines above. The selection of participants is made by a team of parents, self-advocates, and professionals.

What are some of the topics covered in Partners?

  • History of the disability movement
  • Self-determination, self-advocacy, and person-centered planning
  • Disability policy and systems change
  • Community engagement and grassroots advocacy
  • School inclusion, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and successful school transition

How do I apply?

If you have questions or would like more information about the Partnersin Policymaking program, please contact Beth Swedeen at beth.swedeen@wisconsin.gov or (608) 266‐1166.

Download the Application Form