Document Type

Research Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In the 1990s, new regulations within the Americans with Disabilitites Act (ADA) and concern over the changing labor market led rehabilitation experts to advocate for greater attention to employer needs within the job development process. (Gillbride & Stensrud, 1992). The resulting model is often called the dual customer approach becuase it positions both employers and people with disabilities as vocational rehabilitation (VR) customers. The goals of the dual customer approach were discribed in the 32nd Institute of Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) outlining the steps for developing a national VR business network (Anderson et al., 2006). These steps included delivering expertise and responding to VR customers as "one company," preparing staff to successfully implement a dual customer approach, and encouraging collaboration between state VR agencies (Anderson et al., 2006). Over the past several years, VR has made significant strides towards reaching its goal of developing a ntional business network. This is evident in the creation of a National Employment Team (the NET) and designated business points of contact in all public VR programs ( However, whereas businesses' demand for VR services has been well established in the scientific literature (Chan et al., 2010; Stensrud, 2007), little research exists on how VR develops and maintains business partnership in rural areas. This factsheet addresses this gap by describing rural business outreach models.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, rural, disability


© 2012 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