October is National Disability Employment
Awareness Month! RTC:Rural joins with many others to celebrate the
contributions of workers with disabilities. We are pleased to highlight the
work being done to support people with disabilities in rural communities as
they work towards achieving their employment goals.
Barriers to Rural Employment
For people with disabilities who live in rural areas, job
opportunities are limited. There are physical barriers, such as inaccessible
buildings and no accessible transportation, and also attitudinal barriers, such
as negative stereotypes and discrimination. These barriers often keep people
with disabilities from participating how they want in work, school, and
community life. These barriers also contribute to increased social and economic
inequality between people with and without disabilities.
Benefits of Employment
Employment has obvious economic benefits, but it also is
important because it helps people participate in their communities and increases
their overall well-being. Research shows that people with disabilities who are
employed report that they participate more in their communities. They also feel
more socially connected to other people.
Last week, RTC:Rural was in Connecticut for the Consortia of
Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) 2019
mid-year conference held in Mashantucket, CT. RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine
Ipsen, Research Associate Dr. Meredith Repke, and Knowledge Translation
Associate Lauren Smith met with advisor partners and presented the progress to
date on the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Self-Employment Toolkit.
CANAR meetings bring together representatives from tribal VR
programs across the country two times each year. “The meetings provide an
important opportunity to share our work and gather additional stakeholder input
about efforts to translate our self-employment materials for tribal VR
programs,” said Ipsen.
On February 28, 2019, RTC:Rural director Dr. Catherine Ipsen presented a webinar for Project E3: Educate, Empower, and Employ, the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities. Project E3 works with state VR agencies and partners across the U.S. to help people with disabilities from underserved communities achieve their independent living and employment goals.
“The purpose of the Research Review was to showcase research projects that harness administrative data to improve services for people with disabilities,” Ipsen said. “In addition to representatives from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), several researchers described projects that used administrative data to answer and inform research questions.” Continue reading →
Picture from Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and RTC:Rural is celebrating efforts to support people with disabilities in rural communities as they work towards achieving their employment goals.
In addition to the economic benefits of employment, it is an important predictor of community participation and well-being. However, for people with disabilities, and especially in rural areas, employment is not always accessible. Not only are there physical barriers, such as inaccessible buildings and transportation, but there are also societal and attitudinal barriers. These barriers keep people with disabilities disconnected from important activities such as work, school, and community life, and contribute to increased social and economic inequality. Employment is one factor that helps to increase community participation. People who are employed report higher levels of community participation and feeling more socially connected than those who are not employed.
The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year, $4.3 million grant to support its Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural). The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, and will be led by Dr. Catherine Ipsen, the project’s principal investigator. The award continues 30 years of RTC:Rural research and training to improve the lives of rural people with disabilities.
RTC:Rural staff pose for a picture at UM. Front row (left to right): Tannis Hargrove, Lillie Greiman, Justice Ender. Back row (left to right): Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Andrew Myers, Lauren Smith, Maggie Lawrence, Tracy Boehm Barrett. Not pictured: Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Dr. Meg Traci, Dr. Rayna Sage, and Dr. Bryce Ward.
“The opportunity to build on our past work and continue to conduct applied research with our stakeholders from the disability community is a great honor,” said Ipsen.
RTC:Rural research will address barriers identified by rural people with disabilities in the areas of health, community living, and employment. These barriers are often related to the limited resources available in rural environments. “Our team of researchers and knowledge translation staff have put together a portfolio of projects and activities that are responsive to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities and those who serve them,” said Tracy Boehm Barrett, RTC:Rural Director of Knowledge Translation. Continue reading →
Dr. Catherine Ipsen, RTC:Rural Director of Employment Research, and Lauren Smith, Knowledge Translation Associate, recently presented at the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) 2018 Mid-Year conference held in Prior Lake, Minnesota. In their presentation, “Expanding Counselor and Consumer Capacity in Self-Employment,” Ipsen and Smith highlighted RTC:Rural’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Self-Employment Guide, developed as part of the Rural Self-Employment Opportunities research project. The presentation showcased the online guide, shared interactive materials, and explored strategies for using the website in the counseling process.
The VR Self-Employment Guide is a multi-media website created to help people with disabilities and vocational rehabilitation counselors better understand the self-employment process. Consumers and counselors can work from the same material to decide if self-employment is a good option, and if so, to develop a feasible business plan. The website is self-directed, and can be used by individuals on their own or with the guidance of a VR counselor or business development mentor. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural’s Telecom Toolbox, a website that helps people with disabilities find employment using online career development tools, is starting a new Guest Blogger series. So far, the series features two guest bloggers: Justice Ender, RTC:Rural Communications Associate, and Molly Spence, a blogger and advocate.
Justice Ender, RTC:Rural Communications Associate, speaks at the APRIL 2017 conference.
The second post in the Telecom Toolbox Guest Blogger series was written by Molly Spence, a writer and disability advocate. Spence is a member of the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council, and serves on the APRIL Youth Steering Committee. In “Blog Your Way to a Successful Career—Q & A with Molly Spence,” she shares how writing her blog, Molly’s Zone, helped her to gain confidence and become a more vocal advocate. In sharing her experiences with Telecom Toolbox, she also describes how using social media and her blog have helped her to network and grow both her careers as a writer an as an advocate. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural‘s long running Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation research project explores solutions to assist rural rehabilitation service providers in helping people with disabilities achieve and maintain employment.