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Partners in Policymaking™

Group photo of the 2012 Partners in Policymaking class outside the Capitol

Partners in Policymaking is a free leadership and advocacy training program for adults with disabilities and family members of persons with disabilities.


Selected Partners will learn about:

  • - the State and Federal legislative processes
  • - inclusive communities and classrooms
  • - proven practices in housing and employment
  • - assistive technology
  • - strategies for advocates and self-advocates


For an application, click here to download. For more information, contact Ned Andrew Solomon at: or by phone at 615.532.6556.




The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute is a leadership, advocacy and self-advocacy training program for adults with disabilities and family members of persons with disabilities from across the state, sponsored by the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.


3 women from 2012 Partners in Policymaking class sitting at tablesWHAT WILL THE SELECTED PARTNERS PARTICIPANTS DO?


Attend information sessions by local and national experts in the disability field on a variety of disability-related topics, including employment, building inclusive communities and classrooms, the state and federal legislative processes, supported and independent living, assistive technology, strategies for advocates and conducting effective meetings.

Partners will also:

  • complete and report on homework assignments
  • compose and present testimony for or against a legislative bill   
  • tour the State Capitol, and meet with a legislator
  • have numerous opportunities to network with other individuals with disabilities and family members
  • attend the Partners Annual Reunion Conference with representatives from 18 years of Partners in Policymaking in Tennessee
  • Partners 2014-15 Session Dates

September 12 & 13, 2014
October 24 & 25, 2014
November 14 & 15, 2014

January 9 & 10, 2015
February 6 & 7, 2015
March 13 & 14, 2015 (Reunion Conference)
April 10 & 11, 2015 (Graduation)


Partners 2015-2016 dates - To be announced soon!




At a hotel in Middle Tennessee.


2 members, John and Pam, Partners in Policymaking 2012WHAT DOES IT COST?


There is no cost for the training, sleeping rooms or meals on-site during the Partners weekend sessions. Partners will be reimbursed for mileage to and from the Partners session approximately two weeks after each weekend training.




Adults with disabilities and family members of persons with disabilities.  Although each case is reviewed individually, it is not typical for a family member of a person with a disability to participate in the same Partners training year as the family member who has the disability.




Thirty. An effort will be made to select a diverse group, based on type of disability, ethnicity, gender, age of person with a disability or family member, and geographical location of the applicants.




By completing a two-page application, which can be accessed by clicking here to download a form, or by contacting Partners Director Ned Andrew Solomon at 615.532.6556, or by e-mail at .




All applications must be postmarked by April 30, 2015.


For any other information about Partners, please contact Ned Andrew Solomon at 615.532.6556, or by e-mail at

Youth Readiness Days

In 2013-14, the Council conducted four Youth Readiness Day trainings for six different high schools in Fayette (Fayette-Ware Comprehensive High School), Shelby (Concord Academy) and Sevier (Sevier County High School, Pigeon Forge High School, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, and Seymour High School) Counties.


Council staff is available, as schedules permit, to present one-day trainings to help high school students with disabilities to start thinking seriously about their educational, employment and independent living plans after leaving high school. These trainings can be requested by local school systems.


For more information about Youth Readiness Days (YRD) and other self-advocacy training opportunities for youth, contact Ned Andrew Solomon at: or by phone at 615.532.6556.