Self-employment offers an alternative to traditional employment opportunities and is particularly attractive in rural communities that have fewer employment options. Self-employment is an appealing option for people with disabilities because it offers a means to economic independence while overcoming barriers. For instance, self-employment allows people to remain close to an established support network, and offers scheduling flexibility to address health issues that accompany disability. It also reduces environmental barriers to employment, such as inaccessible transportation.
Self-employment is an important option for consumers with disabilities, especially in rural areas, and VR capacity to support it remains under-utilized. To address this, the Rural Self-Employment Opportunities project worked with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitative Services—Self-Employment Task Force to develop policies, procedures, and supporting materials to assist counselors, and developed a manual that specifically targets VR counselors in Utah. Now we are adapting these materials to be available to other VR agencies through an online self-employment training module.
The project follows an integrated knowledge translation process, where stakeholders are responsible for guiding project activities to best meet their own internal objectives and circumstances.
- Project dates: 2013-2018
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B130028
- Principal staff: Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Becca Goe, M.A., Nancy Arnold, Ph.D.
- Related projects:
- Action on Self Employment
- National Study of People with Disabilities who are Self-Employed
- State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Self-Employment Policies and Procedures
- Steps for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: Helping a Consumer Start a Business
- Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Self-Employment: Rural/Urban Use
- Worker Cooperatives
What the Research Says…
- Research Findings
Links to Publications
- Rural and urban difference in Vocational Rehabilitation case mix, delivery practices, and employment outcomes. (Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, 2015).
- Rural and urban vocational rehabilitation self-employment outcomes (Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, January 2017).
- Feb. 28, 2017: “RTC Director of Employment Research publishes paper on self-employment.”
- April 12, 2017: “RTC:Rural developing self-employment training module for VR counselors and consumers.”
- June 2, 2017: “Showcasing RTC:Rural employment and VR research projects.”
- July 18, 2018: “RTC:Rural shares Self-Employment Guide with Tribal VR.”