Telecom Toolbox 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Telecom Toolbox website also features a blog, which highlights additional social media and online resources for job seekers and service providers.
Recent blog articles include material for both consumers and counselors.
- 10 Online Tools for Your Job Search
- 9 Elements of a Highly Effective Cover Letter
- Unintended Consequences of Social Media
For VR counselors:
- Creating a Social Media Plan
- Creating Engaging Content for Youth
- Hashtag use in Vocational Rehabilitation
Telecommunication is an important strategy for increasing consumer-client contact and improving employment outcomes. In addition, understanding the world of online career development can be challenging. Telecom Toolbox provides both VR counselors and clients the tools to build a successful employment outcome.
Visit the Telecom Toolbox website to explore more resources.
For more on RTC:Rural employment research, visit the Employment & Vocational Rehabilitation research page.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for RTC:Rural’s State of the Science Rural VR Job Development webinar, June 22, 2017, 10:00 am MST.