Research and Training Center on Community Living Diversity Fellowships

Aims to (1) increase the knowledge and capacity of disability within a community-based organization (CBO) that serves diverse and/or underrepresented families, and (2) inform ICI about how to increase staff/trainee diversity, support underserved individuals and families, and better serve diverse communities. This project is part of RTC-CL's ongoing efforts to address the professional and educational disparities experienced by historically underrepresented communities in Minnesota and will expand the Center's network to diverse staff and stakeholders. The project will also expand the Center's network to diverse staff and stakeholders. It is a pipeline to improve the recruitment and employment of underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, within ICI, which is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and in the workforce.

The project funds several Fellows. One is a CBO staff member who serves underrepresented Minnesota families and is interested in the disability field. Another Fellow is a graduate student or Minnesota LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) alumna/alumnus or a person with emerging expertise (which may include lived experience) in serving individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families, and who is interested in community work. Fellows commit to a year-long project chosen in collaboration with their CBO and RTC-CL mentors. Projects instill inclusion within organizations and among individuals, such as in a culturally-responsive person- and family-centered thinking and planning model. Participating Fellows and CBOs will in turn better serve the diverse needs of families. The lessons that Fellows learn from working in CBOs will inform future inclusive training efforts and expand RTC-CL internal practices and norms, while advancing a shared commitment to expand diversity within RTC-CL and partnering CBOs.