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Our Pioneers

Colleen Wieck (the Executive Director of Developmental Disabilities Council/ Founder of Partners in Policymaking USA)

Colleen WieckColleen Wieck is Executive Director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities of the Department of Administration, a position she has held for the past 36 years. The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities is a federally-funded, Governor-appointed group of 25 members whose mission is to provide information, education, and training to increase the independence, self determination, productivity, integration and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Colleen is a primary creator of Partners in Policymaking, a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities. Partners in Policymaking began in Minnesota in 1987 and has now been replicated nationwide and in several locations in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Over 27,000 individuals have graduated from Partners in Policymaking nationally and internationally. The outcomes of Partners in Policymaking have been documented with quantitative results of increased citizenship activities as well as qualitative reports of life changes. Equipped with new skills, several graduates have changed their careers and become attorneys, social workers, and special education directors while others have successfully been elected as mayors, school board members, county commissioners, and state legislators.