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.
Ipsen’s webinar was titled “Strategies for Effective Rural VR Service Delivery.” More information, including the webinar slides, can be found on the Project E3 website. The archived webcast will be available soon.
In her presentation, Ipsen discussed barriers to effective VR service delivery, including slow delivery pace, lack of transportation, and limited economic choice. She followed this with some strategies to address barriers including using telecommunications to promote engagement with VR services; expanding VR capacity to support self-employment; and exploring strategies to expand provider reach in rural areas.
“The level of interest in this presentation highlights how challenging rural service delivery can be for VR counselors. I received numerous questions about overcoming transportation and connectivity issues, which are really hard to solve,” said Ipsen.
Ipsen shared previous and current RTC:Rural research projects on employment. These included:
- Premature Exit from VR Services
- Comparing Rural/Urban Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery
- Community and Economic Development: Rural business development strategies
- VR Agencies’ Use of Telecommunications to Deliver Services
- Use of Social Media for Employment
A complete list of references is available in Ipsen’s webinar slides.
Ipsen was also invited to participate in a community of practice discussion group coming up on April 17t. The Project E3 Community Rural and Remote Discussion Group is free to join, and is a place for participants to access event resources, ask questions, and share ideas and strategies. The group will be focusing on discussing additional rural barriers that deserve attention, and on sharing additional strategies.