University of Montana Rural Institute

Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities – RTC: Rural

MainHallwithSquirrelThe Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) conducts research on disability as part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. RTC: Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living.

Research projects at RTC: Rural focus on community participation and independent living, health & wellness, and employment and vocational rehabilitation.  Research products include: Living and Working Well with a Disability, health promotion programs for people with disabilities; Telecom Toolbox, a resource for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors; and the Transportation Voucher program available from the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL).

As a NIDILRR-funded program, the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities strives to ensure people with disabilities participate in all stages of the development and implementation of research projects.  Our goal is to make sure research results and products are useful and relevant to people with disabilities, their families and service providers.

Learn more about RTC: Rural, our staff and history by checking out our About Page .  Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


    Save the Date! Housing and Community Engagement Symposium

    Man using wheelchair down a ramp connected to his home

    Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewblank/

    wheelchair user going through accessible 36" doorway

    Photo credit: FATE Housing, VA

    LOng staircase stoop to Brooklyn brownstone

    Photo Credit: Steven Pisano

    RTC:Rural is hosting a State of the Science Webinar Symposium on Housing Usability and Community Engagement on June 22, 2016. During this event, researchers will present on the accessibility of America's housing, noting urban-rural and regional differences. The dialog will transition into two other presentations that push the conversation to address the broader implications of inaccessible housing as related to community engagement and participation. How do the barriers an individual experiences within an inaccessible home then transfer to influence their ability to participate in the community?  What is the cost? JOIN US for an exciting conversation about the state of accessible housing in our communities and what we might do to address the issues presented. Register today!  Questions? Contact tracy.boehm@mso.umt.edu for more information.

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    Social Media Tips Added to Career Development Tool

    Telecom Toolbox logo with multi-colored icon bubbles emerging from a toolbox.We recently expanded the Telecom Toolbox to include social media strategies for job seeking. The revamped Toolbox includes sections on online communication, online career development, and ethics.

    The Communication section provides tips for using email, text messaging, and video to improve consumer / VR counselor communication.  Research shows frequent contact with consumers improves VR outcomes (Ipsen & Goe, 2016) and online methods provide additional avenues for this communication to take place.

    Building an online presence can be overwhelming, but having positive search results is increasingly important when searching for a job. The Online Career Development section covers a variety strategies for using different social media platforms during the job search process. For instance, LinkedIn can be used to showcase professional accomplishments, network with colleagues, blog content related to your field and even apply for a job.  The first step to use LinkedIn effectively is creating an appealing profile. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help create an online identity as well.  For example, if you were a landscaper, you could use Instagram to share before and after pictures of a yard you landscaped which illustrates “proof of performance”.  Twitter can be used to network and ask questions of industry leaders, while Facebook can be used to cast a wide net for leads when searching for a job.  The section also includes strategies for managing “digital dirt”, effectively utilizing job boards, researching employers, keyword optimization and researching employers are explored as well.

    As social media becomes pervasive, so does examples of missteps.  There are many things to consider when consumers, counselors and VR agencies use social media and the Ethics section of the Telecom Toolbox helps navigate this brave new world.

    We are excited about the changes in the Telecom Toolbox and look forward to updating the website as social media use continues to grow and evolve.

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What does RTC: Rural do?

RTC: Rural is a leader in research on disability in rural communities. Visit our About page to learn more.