Document Type

Research Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Evidence shows that rural clients receive fewer Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services than their urban counterparts (Ipsen, Rigles, Arnold, & Seekins, 2010; Johnstone, Price, Bounds, Schopp, Schootman, & Schumate, 2003). One explanation for this discrepancy is that travel to provide services to rural clients is costly and difficult to deliver on an as-needed basis. In fact, the costs associated with rural service delivery among 1,187 counselors amounted to $1.2 million in gas costs and represented 51,000 hours of staff time (Ipsen, et al., 2010). Increased use of telecommunications is one strategy to boost client and counselor contact during the VR process, particularly among rural clients. Telecommunications refers to a variety of information technology (IT) that allows people in different locations to communicate with one another. The utility of telecommunications to provide VR services, however, may be limited. For instance, people living in rural areas may lack access to certain telecommunication technologies (Porter & Donthu, 2005). Telecommunications may also be difficult for people with limited writing or communication skills. The goal of this research was to learn, from the client perspective, about the barriers and facilitators to using telecommunications during VR service delivery.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, telecommunication and vocational rehabilitation, rural, disability


© 2011 RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


Our research is supported by grant #H133B080023 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Dept. of Education.

Project Number