Tag Archives: social media

RTC:Rural Supports Disability Employment Month

A man operates an ice cream truck at an outdoor farmers market. He is an amputee.

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.

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Students Exchange Knowledge in Curriculum Development Process

Healthy Community Living logoRTC:Rural has a long history of engaging and mentoring students, and after graduation many of these students continue in research. No matter what career path they follow, our students take with them knowledge of the disability research field and awareness of disability issues, perspectives that are valuable for all fields of study.

Most recently, ten University of Montana students have been involved in the Healthy Community Living (HCL) project, creating an online multimedia curriculum that will help people with disabilities gain life skills and learn how to set and reach healthy life goals. These students come from a wide range of disciplines, including the School of Media Arts, psychology, community health sciences, and law. Continue reading

Stakeholder Engagement Brings Value and Insight to Researchers at APRIL 2017

two people pointing at a poster and a map

RTC:Rural researcher Lillie Greiman showing our Network Analysis poster

RTC:Rural staff recently traveled to Spokane, Washington, for the 23rd annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference.

“Attending APRIL gives us a chance to connect with the real people, both service providers and consumers, who work on the ground every day,” said RTC:Rural Research Associate Lillie Greiman. Those connections allow RTC:Rural staff to share, gather feedback and solicit input on our research and resources.  Added Research Associate Andrew Myers, “The APRIL conference gives us the opportunity to hear about the lived experiences of people with disabilities in rural communities all across the county, and these stories can help inform our research and improve the work we do.”

Tools for Today and Tomorrow – Presentation

workshop participants listening to a panel of speakers

RTC:Rural research Tannis Hargrove presenting about the Healthy Community Living program

Researchers shared information about new and current RTC:Rural projects and products in a packed workshop called Asking Question Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow, which highlighted some of the many RTC:Rural products and tools that have been developed as a result of our research. Presenters provided information about:

All of these resources can be found on the Rural Disability Resource Library website.

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Exchanging Knowledge and Expertise: RTC:Rural to engage with stakeholders at APRIL conference

Logo for the 23rd APRIL conference. Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.

Spokane, here we come!

RTC:Rural is busy prepping for the 23rd annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference, which will be held October 20-23rd 2017, in Spokane, Washington. This year’s theme is “Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.”

As well as having two vendor tables inviting engagement with conference attendees, RTC:Rural staff will give two presentations. The first, “Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better” will be about using social media in telecommunication and to promote independent living skills, and the second, titled “Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow” will be a workshop featuring RTC:Rural research that has led to tools and products.

Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better

In this presentation, RTC:Rural Research Associate Dr. Rayna Sage, Communications Associate Justice Ender, and undergraduate student researcher Megan Miller will share tips and tricks on how Centers for Independent Living (CILs) can utilize social media to enhance workflow, bridge main and branch offices, and reach the rural communities they serve. Ender and Miller will also share research and practical tips on how to use Facebook to share information and encourage discussion. Dr Sage will share insights from her one-on-one interviews with young adults in rural communities, and discuss how they are—or are not—using social media to connect around local events.

Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow

This workshop will highlight some of the many RTC:Rural products and tools that have been developed as a result of our research. Presenters include Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett, Director of Employment Research Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Project Director Lillie Greiman, Training Associate Maggie Lawrence, Communications Associate Kerry Morse, and Knowledge Translation Associate Lauren Smith. Continue reading

Showcasing RTC:Rural employment and VR research products

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.

Over the last six months we have produced several new tools to help vocational rehabilitation professionals provide their best services. We are also holding a live State of the Science webinar on Effective Rural Vocational Rehabilitation Job Development, to be held June 22, 2017 at 10:00am MDT.

Click the links below for more details on each item: Continue reading

6 Essential Elements of Social Media Policy for VR Agencies

In a recently published paper in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin titled “Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Guidance on Social Media Use: A Policy Analysis,” RTC:Rural’s Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director of Employment Research, and Rebecca Goe, Research Associate, examined the social media policies of 22 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.

They found that only two VR policies covered recommended social media policy elements, and only one acknowledged social media as a tool for consumer job search.

From their analyses, Ipsen and Goe recommend six essential elements for a complete social media policy. These elements are presented in the following infographic. A full text description can be found below the image.

Access the full journal article here. Continue reading

Telecom Toolbox: A Resource for Job Seekers and Service Providers

Telecom ToolboxTelecom Toolbox logo is an online resource for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) professionals and clients to support their use of online tools to reach employment goals.

RTC:Rural’s ongoing research on how to improve VR services revealed three areas in which VR agencies could make changes to positively impact client employment outcomes: use of telecommunication strategies, online career development, and understanding of ethical issues in social media and telecommunications use.

Communication

Using telecommunication strategies, such as email, text messaging, video chat, or instant messaging, can help overcome many of the barriers that people with disabilities contend with when it comes to finding employment. These forms of communication can be especially important in rural areas, where opportunities and resources tend to be fewer and far-between. For VR counselors, telecommunication can offer ways to provide services in a timely and cost-efficient manner, and increased communication between counselors and clients has positive impact on employment outcomes.

Online Career Development

In this increasingly digital world, tapping into the plethora of online resources can be a game-changer when it comes to finding employment. However, many VR agencies are not fully utilizing current online job-seeking methods. This happens for a variety of reasons, including a lack of counselor training and a lack of ethical guidance in social media use specific to the VR process.

Ethics

Though telecommunication and social media strategies provide opportunities for VR agencies and clients, they present some unique ethical concerns due to their continually evolving nature. These concerns can leave VR counselors and agencies intimidated or unsure about how to integrate social media into their practice. Adding to this confusion is limited guidance on telecommunication and social media use by professional organizations.

Based on these identified needs for training and guidance, RTC:Rural developed Telecom Toolbox as a resource for both VR counselors and individuals working on their own to find employment. The website is a resource to understand the pros and cons of different social media platforms and how they support job search efforts. It also provides guidance on how to create and manage a professional online profile. Continue reading

UM undergrad presents Facebook data for RTC:Rural participatory health promotion project

Student pointing to her research poster, in the poster hall at a conference.

Megan Miller presents her poster, which features her work on RTC:Rural’s Healthy Community Living project, on April 28, 2017 as part of the University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research.

On Friday, April 28, 2017, undergraduate student researcher Megan Miller presented a poster titled “Analysis of Factors Contributing to a Facebook Presence” at the 16th annual University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research.  Miller is a junior psychology major at the University of Montana, and completed the project with RTC:Rural for independent research credit during the 2016/2017 school year.

Miller’s research is part of a broader project at RTC:Rural called Healthy Community Living (HCL).  She worked closely with the HCL project leaders to develop and carry out her research over the course of the school year. HCL is part of a five year grant to produce an innovative online multi-media health promotion program. Using a participatory curriculum development process, RTC:Rural researchers are working closely with partners at Centers for Independent Living and advisors around the country, as well as individuals with disabilities, to develop and test curriculum material.

A beginning step for Miller was figuring out how to attract followers to the HCL Facebook page, which is being used to engage and involve people with disabilities, community members, and service providers in the creation and refinement of HCL’s health promotion curriculum. Specifically, the HCL Facebook page is a tool to collect input on specific curriculum content, as well as to curate a collection of photographic and video media for inclusion in the online program. Continue reading

RTC:Rural presents research at NARRTC 2017 “Taking Charge of Change”

RTC:Rural staff member presenting at a conference

RTC:Rural researcher presenting at a conference

In April 2017, RTC:Rural researchers presented three current research projects at the 2017 NARRTC conference, held this year in Alexandria, Virginia.

This conference provides an annual opportunity for grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to come together and share their latest research findings.  Training and knowledge translation methodologies and results are also shared. The 2017 theme is “Taking Charge of Change.”

Projects presented aim to enhance interventions, programs or systems to improve the lives of people with disabilities. These research projects fall into the priority categories of Community Participation & Independent Living, Employment & Vocational Rehabilitation, Health & Wellness, and Knowledge Translation.

RTC:Rural was on the agenda with two presentations and one poster:

1. Using Participatory Curriculum Development as an Integrated Knowledge Translation Strategy (Presentation)

Authors: Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., Tracy Boehm Barrett, M.P.H., Tannis Hargrove, M.S., Mary Olson, MSW

Self-management and health promotion remain a significant challenge for people with disabilities living in rural areas. Online learning is a promising avenue to make evidence-based programs available to people, yet the best approaches to implementing online content for rural people with disabilities are unknown.

To establish these best approaches, RTC:Rural is partnering with stakeholders from the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and eight Centers for Independent Living across the country to develop two health promotion programs that blend online and face-to-face learning. These programs are based on the Living Well with a Disability program. Continue reading

Healthy Community Living– Real People. Real Places.

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We’re excited to share Healthy Community Living (HCL), one of RTC:Rural‘s newest projects! HCL is currently developing some fun classes, and has released a call for photos that we hope you will participate in.

Everyone should have the opportunity to live well and participate fully in their communities. HCL is committed to helping people with disabilities achieve these goals.

HCL mascot, a rainbow-colored cartoon personIn partnership with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and eight Centers for Independent Living (CILs) across the country, HCL is working to develop two classes that will help people with disabilities set and reach personal goals, live healthy lives, and learn skills that support active community living. These two classes, Community Living Skills and Living Well in the Community will encourage people to explore skills for community living both online and in person with peers and allies.

We hope you can help us with one part of this project.  As HCL is pulling together pictures and videos for the classes, we are finding that there is a lack of images that accurately represent people with disabilities in their everyday lives. Help tell the story of healthy community living by sharing photographs of people with and without disabilities at home and in their communities. Join the HCL group’s Flickr page to see the photos from others and upload your own.

Check out the HCL video below for more information! Continue reading