RehabWire Volume 3 Number 2, March 2001

RehabWire for March 2001 focuses on entrepreneurs and other self-employed people with disabilities. Self-employment is often a viable solution to vocational rehabilitation, though not always offered to clients.

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA.

(1994-2001) Rural facts. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana, Rural Institute on Disabilities. Accession Number: O12590.
Abstract: Set of fact sheets providing information related to rural rehabilitation services. Titles included in the NARIC collection: "Economic development & self-employment" briefly describes model VR and independent living programs; "Promoting self-employment in vocational rehabilitation through changes in the Rehabilitation Act" discusses reasons for the VR system to promote self-employment for people with disabilities; and "Self-employment: Improving policy and practice" summarizes results of several studies of how the VR system uses self-employment as an outcome, and offers 8 policy recommendations.

Arnold, N., Seekins, T., Shelley, R., Hammis, D., Anderson, C., Brown, R. (1999) Self-employment: Steps for vocational rehabilitation counselors: Helping a consumer start a business. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana. Accession Number: O13353.
Abstract: Study guide for a vocational rehabilitation counselor training program on self-employment. Topics include: assessment of self-employment potential; the self-employment process; helping your client write a business plan; resources to help entrepreneurs; Social Security work incentives (PASS); and supported self-employment.

Devlieger, P. J., Trach, J. S. (1999) Mediation as a transition process: The impact on postschool employment outcomes. Exceptional Children, 65(4), 507-523. Accession Number: J36828.
Abstract: Article evaluates the impact of mediation on the transition outcomes of six persons with mild mental retardation. Involvement of parents and focal persons was disproportionate to school and agency personnel. School and agency efforts most often resulted in sheltered employment, while personal or parent mediation resulted more often in self-employment and continuing education outcomes.

Doyel, A. W. (2000) No more job interviews! Self-employment strategies for people with disabilities. Accession Number: R08038.
Abstract: Book on self-employment for persons with disabilities, describing methods of entrepreneurship and discussing how human service organizations can assist persons with disabilities in starting and managing small businesses. Topics include entrepreneurship training, business plans, opportunities for collaboration in growing a business, designing programs to support entrepreneurs with disabilities, and self-employment for persons with severe disabilities.

Hammis, D., Griffin, C. (1999) Creating new employment options through supported employment & supported self-employment. TASH Newsletter, 25(4), 19-21. Accession Number: J36768.
Abstract: Article discusses new employment options through supported employment and supported self-employment. Self-employment, business partnership, and ownership are mentioned as potential options for moving supported employment into the next century. A list of drastic changes in daily activities is provided as a potential means of improving individual employment situations.

Palmer, C., Schriner, K., Getch, Y., Main, D. (2000) Working for yourself: How people with disabilities choose self-employment. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 31(3), 30-37. Accession Number: J40734.
Abstract: Study describes and analyzes the decision making process engaged in by four adults with disabilities who choose to become self-employed. Researchers found that it is imperative that the rehabilitation practitioner have a basic understanding of self-employment and the wide range of possibilities it offers, and the knowledge to assist individuals in identifying the reasons they wish to be self-employed, how self-employment would benefit them, and what kinds of supports are necessary to be successful.

Man in shirt and tie running with an olympic torch. Seekins, T., Arnold, N. (1999) Self-employment and economic leadership as two promising perspectives on rural disability and work. Work, 12(3), 213-222. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana Accession Number: J37045.
Abstract: Article presents an overview of disability in rural America and outlines an ecological model for guiding the development of rural solutions to rehabilitation problems. Examples of promising solutions are outlined including self-employment as a rural vocational rehabilitation employment option and rural economic leadership by people with disabilities. It is believed that participating in local economic development may increase counselors' awareness of potential employment opportunities for consumers including self-employment.

Trupin, L., Yelin, E. (1999) The employment experience of persons with limitations in physical functioning: An analysis of the 1996 California Work and Health Survey.Disability Statistics Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of California/San Francisco. Accession Number: O13325.
Abstract: Report comparing objective and subjective employment characteristics by functional limitation status (none, a little, or a lot). The report uses data from the 1996 California Work and Health Survey. Demographic data includes self-employment.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium.

Ideas for the New Millennium,World Institute on Disability (H133A990006) led by Kathy Martinez. Eva M. Gavillán, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project creates a productive international exchange of information and expertise on disability and rehabilitation, connecting disability research and advocacy leadership in ten target countries with their peers in the United States. The issues critical to the information exchanges are: (1) disability rights and independent living, (2) employment and entrepreneurial activity, (3) access and technology, (4) mass media images, and (5) influence through governance. Using a civil rights perspective, the project addresses disability policy, law, advocacy, research, and related developments in the ten countries.
Find out more at:

Computer-Based Multimedia Interactive "E-Entrepreneur" Training for Individuals with Disabilities, Pacific Business Insights, Inc. (PBI) (ED-00-PO-3953) led by Sajean Geer. Donna McCole, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project tests the technical merits and feasibility of a computer-based training system that is accessible "anytime and anywhere" by individuals with disabilities. The goal is to train individuals with disabilities to leverage computing, telecommunication, and disability-specific add-on assistive technologies to start, operate, and manage businesses electronically--to be successful E-entrepreneurs and business people.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports, Virginia Commonwealth University (H133B980036) led by Paul Wehman, PhD. Delores Watkins, Project Officer.
Abstract: This Center helps to increase the national employment rate among people with disabilities by identifying factors in the work environment that inhibit or enhance employment outcomes and by sharing the results with the business community. Among other funding priorities, researchers determine the impact of changes in work structures such as telecommuting and self-employment on the employment outcomes of people with disabilities.
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Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana (H133B70017) led by Tom Seekins, PhD. Joyce Y. Caldwell, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RRTC conducts and disseminates research and provides training that improves the capacity of rural environments to support people with disabilities in living and working independently. Rural Employment and Economic Development Projects concentrate on employment and vocational rehabilitation service needs, including self-employment as a vocational option for rural people with disabilities.
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The University of Montana’s Rural Institute on Disabilities also maintains two other self-employment research projects:

The Self-Employment Experience: Learning About Entrepreneurs with Disabilities to Build Models for Improving Self-Employment Outcomes, University of Montana (H133G70064) led by Nancy Arnold, PhD and Tom Seekins, PhD. Delores Watkins, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project examines self-employment experiences of people with disabilities. While self-employment is a growing national trend for people without disabilities, it is generally considered a less-than-optimal outcome for consumers of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services and is seldom pursued. Project goals include: (1) providing a clearer understanding of self-employment for people with disabilities, (2) encouraging development of new policies and procedures, and (3) providing future entrepreneurs with disabilities and support agencies with recommendations for improved practice. Researchers also develop profiles of self-employed individuals with disabilities and recommend changes to VR practices that promote self-employment as a viable service outcome.
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Self-Employment Technology Transfer (SETT), University of Montana (H133G000189) led by Nancy Arnold, PhD. Delores Watkins, Project Officer.
Abstract: The Self-Employment Technology Transfer (SETT) project has developed and field tested a vocational rehabilitation (VR) self-employment support model based on extensive research. This project is designed to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate methods for facilitating the widespread adoption by practicing VR counselors of this empirically derived model of standards and practices in a cost-effective manner and in a relatively short time. There has been an explosion of interest in self-employment for people with disabilities. Over a half-million people with disabilities report owning their own businesses and people with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to be self-employed as those in the general population. While self-employment is not for everyone, it clearly is a viable option used by many. Yet, VR agencies nationally help fewer than 2.5 percent of their consumer achieve self-employment.
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Employment Guide