Making a Difference Using Our Collective Voice!

Partners in PolicyMaking is a national advocacy training program that AADD has been providing for 25 years.  The training has evolved over the years from a nine month program to a two month program.  Based on feedback from the last two classes, we have decided to revise the program to cover 50 hours of training that uses a combination of a retreat, day long sessions, and webinars.  Please see the revised schedule below before applying.

Partners In PolicyMaking brings in national speakers to educate and inform advocates using a nationally approved agenda.  Each year, 30 individuals graduate from the training and become a member of a national advocacy movement that focuses on policy change, educating the public, and improving our communities.  We have graduated more than 700 individuals who advocate at the federal and state level for policy changes, have started nonprofit organizations, and taken on such issues as housing, voting and school inclusion.    

Our goal is simple: to establish and maintain effective partnerships between people needing and using services and those who make public policy and laws.

  • The training addresses current issues and best practices for advocacy while introducing the ins and outs of policymaking and the legislative processes at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Participants also learn what they can do to act as a catalyst for change in their own communities.
  • Upon graduation, participants use their new skills to work to obtain policy changes for all of those with disabilities.

Join Those Making Those Voices Heard!  

Criteria for applying include:

        • Self-advocate, parent or family member of individual with developmental disability. 
        • Willingness to commit and attend the training sessions (see outline)
        • Passion, interest and energy for advocacy.  Willingness to show up when called.
        • Desire to participate in legislative breakfasts, meetings and sessions at the Capitol during the summer and fall.
        • Attendance at the annual alumni event each winter before the legislative session.
        • Serve on alumni work teams and promote advocacy campaigns in your community.
        • Agree to host an informal event in your local hometown with your state legislator or other policy makers.

We seek participants from varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds, different geographic regions of the state and various disabilities, as well as persons not actively involved in existing advocacy efforts but want to get involved.

Limited scholarships are available for travel, childcare and personal assistance services needed for attendance.

To apply for our 2016 class, please complete the online application as soon as possible.  Application will include an interview and review of supporting documentation.

2016 Training Schedule  (Dates to be Determined)

February – Saturday Morning – Webinar for 2 hours

March 11-13 – Retreat Weekend in Atlanta – Friday and Saturday overnight, Lodging and Food provided. 

March –Saturday Morning -Webinar for 2 hours

April – Retreat Weekend and Graduation


Debra Perkins, 2015 Graduate

On our first day we were told that we would have an “AHA” moment.  Well, I had a major AHA moment that has already changed my life.  I finally accepted that it wasn’t about me, but about my son. About my son finding joy in his life, whatever that meant, even if it wasn’t my dream for him – college. My attitude has gone from hopeless, to excited about the future.

Debra Perkins, 2015 GraduateMy Aha Moment
Vicki Wilkerson

The sharing of personal stories, successes and missteps among the participants is a highlight of the experience; strong bonds and friendships are formed. If you or someone you know has a passion for assisting individuals with developmental disabilities to lead happy independent lives, I recommend attending Partners in Policymaking.

Vicki WilkersonAn interactive learning experience!