The Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) conducts research on disability as part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana.
RTC: Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living.
Read our 2-page Executive Summary: RTC:Rural- Research that Leads to Solutions for Rural Americans with Disabilities (PDF)
Read our 10-page Research Summary: RTC:Rural Research Summary_2017 (PDF)
As a NIDILRR-funded program, the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities strives to ensure people with disabilities participate in all stages of the development and implementation of research projects. Our goal is to make sure research results and products are useful and relevant to people with disabilities, their families and service providers.
Since the recession, employment rates for people with disabilities have not increased at the same rates as those for people without disabilities. In rural areas, these disparities are even more pronounced: in most rural areas, employment rates for people with disabilities decreased significantly while rates for people without disabilities in those same areas increased. See our Employment disparity grows for rural Americans with disability fact sheet, or our Jan. 28 article Rural people with disabilities are still struggling to recover from the recession in The Conversation for more information.
In working to find solutions that help increase employment for people with disabilities in rural areas, RTC:Rural research has found that telecommunication strategies could be useful ways for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies to increase contact between counselors and consumers, and to help more consumers successfully reach their employment goals. See Use of Social Media for Employment project page for more information. Through research and conversations with partners at the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, we found that VR counselors were not using online job search tools and social media as much as they could, partially because they felt unprepared.Continue reading about Telecom Toolbox can help VR counselors support the employment goals of rural consumers
On February 22, 2019, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen will travel to Washington D.C. to present as part of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)’s Administrative Data and Employment Research Review. Dr. Ipsen will be giving a presentation on Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) data, titled “Using RSA-911 Data to Frame and Inform Rural Research.” RSA-911 is the national data collection system used by the RSA to monitor vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs and identify successful practices.
Dr. Ipsen was invited to share how RTC:Rural has and continues to use federal data, including RSA-911 data, to inform research direction, identify gaps in knowledge, and to create solutions that are relevant to people with disabilities in rural communities.Continue reading about RTC:Rural Director to present on importance of administrative data to rural research