Document Type

Research Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


It can be difficult for VR counselors to provide face-to-face services to rural clients. Large caseloads reduce counselors’ available travel time to travel to outlying rural communities, and rising fuel costs make such trips expensive (Metzel & Giordano, 2007; Riemer-Reiss, 2000). Telecommunications can increase counselor-client accessibility and provide flexibility to supplement face-to-face services. Telecommunications refers to a variety of information technology (IT) that allows people in different locations to engage with one another, while reducing boundaries of time, distance, and location. Access to telecommunication services, however, may be limited. For instance, people living in rural areas may lack access to certain telecommunication technologies (Porter & Donthu, 2005). And some telecommunication technology may be difficult for people with limited writing or communication skills. We conducted two studies on the use of telecommunications in the VR process—one from the perspective of VR counselors and one from the perspective of rural VR consumers. Following are the preliminary findings from the survey of VR counselors.


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


© 2010 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