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.
In the paper, Repke and Ipsen analyze survey data from the
Reform and Disability Survey to explore how a number of factors are related
to social participation and perceived isolation for people with disabilities,
and to see if there are differences for those who live in rural vs urban areas.
These factors include number of disabilities, self-rated health, employment
status, and living arrangements (alone or with others).
Previous studies have compared social isolation to smoking
in terms of risk to public health. Some groups of people have a much higher
risk of social isolation, including people with disabilities and rural
residents. This research builds on previous work by considering how the
potentially compounding effects of disability status and living in a rural area
may affect social participation and perceived isolation.
On April 23, Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research
Associate, will present findings from the Rural
Access to Health Insurance and Health Care study, a partnership
between RTC:Rural and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living
(CHRIL), at the 2019 NARRTC conference.
This year’s conference theme is “Inclusive Disability Research and Practice:
Building on our History.” The study is being led by RTC:Rural Director Dr.
Repke is presenting as part of a panel of researchers on the
project who are sharing different findings from the 2018 National Survey on
Health Reform and Disability (NSHRD). CHRIL conducted the survey to understand
how changes in health care reimbursement strategies affect working-age people
with disabilities in terms of access to health insurance, as well as associated
health care and quality of life outcomes. RTC:Rural researchers helped recruit
people with disabilities from rural areas, and will use their data to answer
some rural-specific questions.
Looking for information on accessible transportation or
housing? Or for strategies to help you talk about your disability in a job
interview? Need some tips on how to find a personal care assistant, or on how
to do your taxes?
For all those and more, check out the Rural Disability Resource Library. It contains fact sheets, how-to guides, information for conducting workshops, web resources, and much more!
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 →
[Image description: three men are outside talking and smiling. Two give each other a high-five. Probably because they appreciate good ‘dad-jokes’ as much as we do.]
Evergreens might not mind winter, but for all the other trees, spring is a great re-leaf!
Cultivate some ‘new growth’ in employment for people with disabilities by providing Working Well with a Disability!
Registration for the April 2019 Working Well with a Disability online facilitator training is now open. The training will take place the week of April 22nd. Space is limited, so please only register if you know you can attend.
Dr. Catherine Ipsen, RTC:Rural Director and Director of Employment Research
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 →
In December 2018 the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2013-2017 American Community Survey summary data. In the recently released fact sheet “Employment disparity grows for rural Americans with disability,” RTC:Rural researchers used this data to begin exploring how employment rates have changed for people with disabilities in the context of changing economic conditions. They found increasing disparities between people with and without disabilities across the country as well as across the rural-urban continuum.
Click the links below to download the fact sheet from the RTC:Rural and Rural Institute ScholarWorks collection: