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State VR Agencies Expand Self-Employment Opportunities

Nov.11, 2003 -- Over the last decade, state vocational rehabilitation agencies' policies and procedures for helping disabled individuals become self-employed have grown tremendously, say researchers. The study "State Self-Employment Policies: A Decade of Change," released by the Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation at the University of Montana, found that most of the agencies the researchers studied (96 percent) now help clients in developing a busines plan, and most include other assistance as well.

"Since the mid-90's Vocational Rehabilitation agencies have become more open to self-employment outcomes," say researchers Nancy Arnold and Catherine Ipsen, noting that the 1998 Reauthorization of the federal Rehabilitation Act "specifically included self-employment as an outcome" and "emphasized consumer choice in the rehabilitation process. This empowered people with disabilities to state their preferences for pursuing self-employment outcomes."

As acceptance of self-employment for people with disabilities grew over the past ten years, several VR agencies revised their self-employment policies and procedures.

This report describes how policies have changed.

"Many agencies have developed self-employment programs and published manuals for counselors, checklists, and consumer resources such as fact sheets and planning guides," say rsearchers xx and xx with the Rural Institute, "Agencies have developed or use services or programs developed specifically to assist people with disabilities develop successful businesses."

Read the report







Read the EEOC's Primer for Small Business on complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act




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