Advocacy Academy

2023 Advocacy Academy Interns group photo, individuals of diverse background with and without visible disabilities
Pictured: Summer 2023 Interns with Jeff Patton, CEO of Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (ISK)

About Advocacy Academy

Advocacy Academy is an opportunity to get involved in the disability rights movement and learn the skills of advocacy! Participants will learn advanced leadership. This is a paid 8-week summer job where participants choose a disability advocacy issue to learn about and then create an advocacy campaign around that issue. Participants will learn about:

  • The history of the Disability Rights Movement in the United States
  • The skills of advocacy
  • Personal leadership skills
  • How to work in a group
  • Workplace skills
  • How to plan and implement a disability advocacy project

Advocacy Academy provides valuable experience and training which can be applied to other life experiences. Many of our previous participants have received employment recommendations based on their work performance at Advocacy Academy.

Qualifications & Expectations

Six (6) individuals will be selected to participate in this year’s Advocacy Academy program. We are seeking applicants who:

  • Are between 16–29 years of age
  • Are able to commit to the entire 8 week position
  • Have a disability
  • Are motivated to increase their leadership skills

Selected participants are expected to be present for all sessions (see “Schedule” section below for details) and participate in the advocacy project process. This is a paid position at $14.00 per hour.

2024 Advocacy Academy


Participants are expected to be at each session. Advocacy Academy meets Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 5:00 pm between June 17 and August 14, 2024 with the exception of July 3, 4, 5, and 19, when we will not meet.
A graduation ceremony will be held on the last day, Wednesday, August 14, 2024.


Advocacy Academy will meet in person at our Kalamazoo office:
517 E. Crosstown Parkway
Kalamazoo, MI 49001


To apply for this year’s Advocacy Academy, email or mail us your resume along with answers to the following questions:
1. Why are you interested in learning about the Disability Rights Movement and advocacy?
2. What does advocacy mean to you?
3. What leadership skills do you want to develop?
4. Please describe your disability. (This question is asked to ensure the Advocacy Academy team is comprised of a cross-disability group.)

Send your resume and answers to the above questions to Holly Baker by email or mail. Please let us know if you need an accommodation to apply.


Advocacy Academy Application
c/o Holly Baker
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
517 E. Crosstown Parkway,
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

Applications must be received by Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Contact Us
If you have any questions about this application process, please contact Holly Baker at the above email address or by phone at (269) 345-1516 x121.