Partners in Policymaking (PIP) is a program that prepares adults with intellectual/ developmental disabilities (IDD), parents, and family members of children and adults with IDD to be effective advocates at the local, state, and federal levels. Partners in Policymaking was created in 1987 by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities upon their discovery that there was a need for a formal training process, covering best practices in advocacy on a variety of issues for people with IDD. This year-long program is currently available in over 30 states. After a 10-year hiatus of the program in Maryland, The Arc Maryland relaunched the program in 2018 with incredible financial and technical support from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and in-kind support from People on the Go of Maryland.
To learn more about the national Partners program on the Minnesota Department of Administration Council on Developmental Disabilities Website at www.mn.gov/mnddc/pipm/.
Partners In Policymaking® is about systems change: creating, working towards, and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. Partners graduates often become lifelong and long-term agents of change in the community.
The goal of Partners in Policymaking® is to educate participants to be active partners with those who make policy. The idea is to develop partnerships that are based on positive and mutually beneficial relationships. In today’s political climate of constant change, Partners graduates must work tirelessly to prevent the loss of basic rights for people with disabilities. Partners graduates can change the future by influencing public policy today!
“I have gained a lot of knowledge about topics related to self-advocacy and leadership. I have also met many amazing people while in the Partners program who are great examples of leadership and self-advocacy.”
– Justin Valenti, 2019 Partners Graduate
This year in the state of Maryland, up to 30 participants will be selected from a competitive application pool to participate in mandatory classes from September to June. Class members will hear from subject matter experts in sessions with topics such as:
- The History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement; Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
- State Laws and Policies and Those Who Create Them
- Federal Laws and Policies and Those Who Create Them
- Inclusive Education and Lifelong Learning
- Developing Your Ideal Life
- Living Your Ideal Life
- Advocacy in Action
- Taking Your Place
Additionally, throughout the year, Partners are challenged to identify and work on a project to inspire change in the community by exploring issues faced by people with IDD and their families.
“I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate alongside so many seasoned advocates and self-advocates so early in our journey. From person-centered planning to effective policy advocacy, to partnering with my child’s school for the best education experience possible, among many other topics; this has given me the tools in my toolkit that I wasn’t aware I needed. Connecting with the guest speakers, staff, and the other Partners has been a treasure and a powerful networking opportunity, making this an invaluable experience and one that I hope will allow me to be a change-maker for my son and others.”
– Angie Auldridge, 2019 Partners Graduate
Becoming a Partner in Policymaking
Applications for the program are currently closed.
The 2020-2021 class schedule was as follows:
- September 20 & 21, 2020 (Sunday & Monday)
- October 27, 2020 (Tuesday)
- November 17, 2020 (Tuesday)
- December 15, 2020 (Tuesday)
- January 17 & 18, 2021 (Sunday & Monday)
- February 9, 2021 (Tuesday, Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature)
- March 2021 (to be determined – individual sessions)
- April 18 & 19, 2021 (Sunday & Monday)
- May 18, 2021 (Tuesday)
Learn More About Partners
Want to know more about the Partners in Policymaking® Program? We will host an applicant information call once the 2021-2022 schedule is set to review the program and application. and answer any questions participants had. You can check out questions and answers from the call through the button below.
If you have any further questions, please contact Arylon Brooks, Director of Programs at The Arc Maryland, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also take a look back at last year’s gaduates through our Partners 2020 Yearbook below.
This project was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.