New York State Partners in Policymaking®


New York State Partners in Policymaking® is designed to create a platform with individuals with disabilities or family members from which to enact change at legislative and policymaking levels. Through training, Partners graduates become public figures. Acquisition of the skills, confidence, and tools to access information and make connections with influential policymakers is just one of the many benefits of becoming a New York State Partner.

The wide variety of course material includes disability history, policy, culture, creating community, inclusion, individualized services, state and federal legislative issues, advocacy, and technology platforms. N.Y.S Partners is based on the national model of Partners in Policymaking®, and is delivered in an online learning format to make it easier for New Yorkers across the state to get and stay involved.

Project Activities

Online Class Training: Each year applications are selected from throughout New York State and result in classes having a strong mix of self-advocates and family members of persons with developmental disabilities. Participants represent geographic, economic, ethnic and racial diversity, and diverse family roles such as self-advocates, siblings, fathers, mothers, and grandparents. Participants take part in eight guided online learning training sessions. Each module culminates in a live webinar which features experts in their topical fields.

Graduate Training and Reporting Site: Upon completion of the training program, each year's graduates are added to the Partners Graduate Reporting Website and listed on a geographic map of New York State. Graduates become part of a state and national Partners network and report their efforts in an online system, built just for them. Social media, such as YouTube, is used by graduates to post and share their testimonies and other policy-related activity nationwide.


Contact Information

Carol Blessing

Funding Agencies

NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC)

Principal Investigator

Carol Blessing

Collaborating Partners

Starbridge (formerly The Advocacy Center)