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Texas Partners in Policymaking are no longer accepting applications for the 2021 class. The application deadline was April 17, 2020. Texas Partners in Policymaking is an annual program, and the application will be open again next spring. Click here to sign up to be alerted when the next application period begins and to receive other information about our program.

How to Apply: TCDD uses an online application tool – SMApply – to accept applications for Texas Partners in Policymaking. In SMApply, applicants can easily submit their applications online. Please contact Genessee Klemm if you need a paper copy of the application.

This advanced leadership training program is for self-advocates and family members of people with developmental disabilities (DD). Through the course of the program, participants acquire the information and skills necessary to partner with policymakers and advocate for important disability issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

Participants develop innovative projects that improve the lives of people with DD in their communities. Ultimately, graduates work to impact policy and change systems, so more people with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Some of the graduates might go on to become policymakers themselves.

To learn more about the program, visit the About section of the Texas Partners in Policymaking website. Texas Partners in Policymaking is a project of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

When and where are the sessions held?
The program consists of eight two-day training sessions held monthly from August 2020 to April 2021.  There will not be a session in December 2020. Sessions may be held in-person or online via video conference. In-person sessions are held in San Antonio and Austin. The class schedule is tentative and subject to change based on the class format.


  • Session 1: Aug. 28-29, 2020
  • Session 2: Sept. 18-19, 2020
  • Session 3: Oct. 16-17, 2020
  • Session 4: Nov. 20-21, 2020
  • Session 5: Jan. 8-9, 2021
  • Session 6: Feb. 19-20, 2021
  • Session 7: March 5-6, 2021
  • Session 8: April 9-10, 2021

*Session dates are subject to change

What is the format of the training program?
Training varies and may include in-person, classroom-style learning, or online videoconference meetings. In addition, participants engage in group discussions, develop group projects, and work on individual initiatives.

What is the time commitment for Partners participants?
Participants are required to attend ALL training sessions. Also, participants are required to do activities between sessions, including homework assignments, advocacy activities, and a graduation project.

Is there a fee to attend the eight-month training?
There is no charge to attend. The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities covers the cost for those selected (approximately $10,000 per participant).

Do I have to pay for my overnight hotel and travel expenses?
Overnight accommodations are provided for participants who drive a distance. Class members are matched and housed in double occupancy hotel rooms. Mileage reimbursement is also available to class members. Meals are provided during each weekend session.

Is there financial assistance available to help for Respite/Child Care, a Personal Assistant, or a Personal Support Worker?
The Partners program does not provide onsite services. However, a reimbursement allowance is offered to participants needing financial assistance. It is up to participants to make arrangements for their own services.

How are class participants selected?
A Review Committee, which includes Partners’ graduates, representatives from TCDD, and other local leaders, will select participants based on several criteria. Applicants will be notified about the status of their application by June 26, 2020.

Contact Genessee Klemm if you have questions or need support.