Self-employment is an important alternative to traditional paid employment for people with disabilities, especially in rural areas where job opportunities are limited. Data from the 2016 American Community Survey showed that there are higher rates of self-employment among people with disabilities than without, and higher rates of self-employment in non-metro (rural) than metro (urban) counties. Self-employment can be a good option for people with diverse disabilities, and is an important option on American Indian reservations.
However, VR closures to self-employment have been low, due to counselor attitudes, limited training in business-start up activities, and concerns about cost. To address these concerns, we developed the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Self-Employment Guide. The Guide was created to help people with disabilities and VR counselors understand the self-employment process. It provides a way for consumers and counselors to work from the same material while assessing self-employment readiness and developing a business plan. The VR Self-Employment Guide is a self-directed, multi-media website designed to be used by individuals with or without the guidance of a VR counselor or business development mentor.
The Rural Self-Employment project will pilot and evaluate the existing VR Self-Employment Guide, as well as create, pilot, and evaluate a new culturally appropriate translation for use within the tribal VR system.
- Project dates: 2018-2023
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. 90RTCP0002-01-00
- Principle Staff: Catherine Ipsen, Lauren Smith, Meredith Repke
- Related Projects:
- July 18, 2018: “RTC:Rural shares Self-Employment Guide with Tribal VR“
- July 27, 2018: “Rural Institute researchers awarded 5-year grant to continue research and training“
- March 6, 2019: “NIDILRR Research Review showcases importance of federal data in disability research.“
- June 27, 2019: “Using IPCD to create a tribal translation of the VR Self-Employment Guide.“