Effective Rural Vocational Rehabilitation Job Development – A State of the Science Event

Overview and Background

On July 22, 2017, State Vocational Rehabilitation staff and administrators, researchers and job development providers from across the country participated in RTC:Rural’s State of the Science webinar exploring how Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) payment models influence the availability of job development services in rural areas. The event aimed to help participants understand which models may facilitate better VR outcomes in rural areas, and encourage conversation between VR and providers about how payment models impact job development services.

While VR agencies use a variety of models to deliver job development services, the majority contract with third-party providers to deliver services such as resume development, job coaching, and job placement. There is evidence, however, that different payment models (such as hourly, fee-for-service, or performance-based benchmarks) influence the availability and quality of job development services in rural communities.

Archived Materials

A recording of the webinar and the materials developed for it are available for viewing and download at the following links:


This Rural VR Job Development webinar explored the relationship between VR payment models, geography, and VR outcomes. The webinar was designed to provide current and pertinent information to stimulate a rich discussion among participants. Strategies to address VR outcomes were discussed such as hybrid models that draw upon the strengths of different delivery models and the use of incentives to serve rural areas and “hard cases.”

The webinar featured a review of current research from the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural), followed by reactions from a panel of experts representing a variety of perspectives within the field of VR service delivery.


Dr. Catherine Ipsen headshot

Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director of Employment Research, RTC:Rural
Presenter Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director of Employment Research, leads the Employment & Vocational Rehabilitation program at the Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities. This program explores solutions to assist rural rehabilitation service providers in helping people with disabilities achieve and maintain employment. Panelists represent various perspectives in VR including VR directors, regional staff, job development providers, & research. Dr. Ipsen holds a PhD in Multidisciplinary Studies & an MA in Economics, both from the University of Montana. Dr. Ipsen has over 20 years of experience in disability research and evaluation, with a focus on service delivery strategies to support rural consumers in securing & maintaining employment.

[table id=3 /]

Quick Links: Knowledge Translation

[tabby title="Rural Adviser
  • Rural Advisor Program
    RTC: Rural Advisors provide recommendations, contribute to research and development activities, and help shape the RTC agenda for developing solutions to issues experienced by people living with disabilities in rural America.
  • [tabby title="Research
    • Research Participation
      Research Participants are rural community members who wish to serve an essential role in advancing rural disability research by participating in RTC: Rural studies.
    [tabby title="State of
    the Science"]
    • State of the Science
      RTC:Rural conducts a state-of-the-science conference to engage experts, scientists, and disability stakeholders to discuss the status of rural disability and rehabilitation and the future of research and practice and to advance the science of disability in small town and rural environments.
    [tabby title="Products & Training"]
    • Products & Training
      RTC: Rural has established programs, products, trainings, and resources to support national efforts to improve the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently in rural America.
    [tabby title="Technical
    • Technical Assistance
      RTC: Rural’s Knowledge Translation and Resource Center provides technical assistance for implementing, developing, and maintaining evidence-based practices to improve the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently in rural America. Contact us with inquiries about our research and programs.