Kennedy
Fellows

DRIVING POLICY CHANGE

Public Policy Fellowship

JPKF’s Public Policy Fellowship prepares emerging leaders to create change for the IDD community at the federal and state level. Past Fellows have worked alongside Senators and Members of Congress on key IDD policy including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Developmental Disabilities Services and Bill of Rights Act. Former Fellows hold senior leadership roles in the nonprofit and private sectors and in the federal government, including in the White House, the U.S. Senate, the Department of Education, and the Department of Labor.

Applications now being accepted for the 2023 Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation public policy fellowship.

PAST FELLOWS

George Jesien

1995

Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities (Retired)

Sue Swenson

1996

President, Inclusion International
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Dan Mont

2003

CEO, and Co-Founder, Center for
Inclusive Policy

Sharon Lewis

2007

Principal, Health Management Associates

Lisa Pugh

2008

Newsmakers Host, WisconsinEye Public Affairs Network

Kimberly Knackstedt

2009

White House Disability Policy Director

Michael Gamel-McCormick

2010

Disability Policy Director, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Jake Cornett

2012

Executive Director,
Disability Rights Oregon

Scott Robertson

2013

Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Labor

Patricia Nobbie

2014

Disability Policy Engagement Director, Anthem, Inc.

Valerie Williams

2015

Director of the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

David Egan

2015

Author, IDD community member,
and IDD leader and advocate

Mary Schuh

2017

Research Associate Professor,
University of New Hampshire

Jackie Hubbard

2018

Attorney, Disability Law Center

Ashley White

2019

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin

Montrel Tennessee

2022

Government of the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services

The Fellowship

Summary:

The Fellowship is a one-year, full-time, intensive immersion experience in federal public policy in Washington, D.C. The program includes a stipend and modest relocation expenses. Fellows must be prepared to live in the Washington, D.C. area and devote themselves full-time to the Fellowship.

Purpose:

To prepare emerging leaders to assume leadership roles in the public policy arena at the federal and/or state levels.

Who should apply:

The successful applicant’s background will include distinguished involvement in efforts to improve the lives of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities at the regional, state, or national level.

After their year in Washington, it is expected that former Kennedy Fellows will make significant contributions to policy and program development in their home state or another state, or continue to advance public policy on the national level.

2022-2023 Program:

The coming year promises to be a challenging opportunity to participate in the policy development process, as there is a Congressional election in November 2022. There are multiple issues before the 118th Congress and the administration eyeing 2024’s Presidential Election. The actions taken by Congress impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, communities and supportive organizations doing work with, and on behalf of, people with disabilities. Key legislation may include The Higher Education Act, The ABLE Act, SSI and Social Security disability program improvements and Work Incentives reform, Keeping All Students Safe Act, the National Apprenticeship Act passed at some point and will not have any idea how to and work on implementation for people with disabilities., many briefings and hearings, all impacting the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for their families. Several of these issues may be resolved prior to the 118th Congress being seated.

Since its founding in 1946, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation has supported the creation of practical programs to benefit persons with intellectual disabilities, their families and their communities. The Foundation has always worked with national leaders who understand both the promise and realities of the U.S.’s system of government. The need for skilled leadership in both government and public policy advocacy has never been greater. In response to this need, the Foundation initiated the Public Policy Fellowship Program in 1980. Fellows receive first-hand knowledge and experience in the development of public policy and the opportunity to participate in an advocacy-training workshop, national disability policy seminars and other learning opportunities.

The successful applicant’s background will include distinguished involvement in efforts to improve the lives of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities at the regional, state or national level.
Successful applicants will have demonstrated outstanding experience and accomplishment in at least one of the following areas:

1. State or national level advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families;

2. Health care, mental health care, employment, education, child care, child welfare, law, community organizing, housing or development of inclusive community supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities;

3. Development of training programs for people with disabilities, families and communities and/or for the professionals who work with and for them;

4. Development or improvements of family support services, programs focused on increasing individual’s control of resources and decisions impacting their lives, technology in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and any other area of focus important to these Americans.

5. Enhancing the empowerment and influence of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through organized efforts and programs.

The expectation is that fellows will become future leaders in the area of inclusive community supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After their year in Washington, it is expected that former Kennedy Fellows will make significant contributions to policy and program development in their home state or another state, or continue to advance public policy on the national level.

The program provides a one-year full-time exposure to the federal public policy making process, and includes a stipend and modest relocation expenses. Selected fellows must be prepared to live in the Washington, DC area full-time during their fellowship year and to devote themselves full-time to the fellowship.