Skip to Main Content
(406) 243-5467or (800) 732-0323 Voice/TTY

The University of Montana Rural Institute improves the skills, abilities and quality of life of people with disabilities, and those who serve and support them, in rural communities throughout Montana and United States.



RIIC teaches how assistive technology helps people live more independently at home, school, work, and in the community. We conduct research to improve employment outcomes, economic status, and independence for people with disabilities in rural communities.



The Rural Institute develops and evaluates innovative health promotion activities in rural areas in Montana and throughout the United States. Our goal is to help people with physical or mental limitations learn to “live well and safely” in their own homes and communities.



The RIIC Early Childhood programs offer on-going education and training to childcare providers, families, and to teachers of young children with disabilities. We provide Education and Interdisciplinary Training across the human service and education systems in Montana.

  • Home

For Inclusive Communities

UM 72 2The Rural Institute is one of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the Administration on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (AIDD).

The Rural Institute serves as a resource in education, research, and service as it relates to the needs of people with disabilities in rural communities, including their families and those who serve and support them.
Major activities include:

  1. providing training of personnel who serve and educate individuals with disabilities and their families;
  2. research and evaluation to assist people with disabilities to lead healthy, productive lives in their communities;
  3. community supports and services including training and technical assistance;
  4. dissemination of information to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families living in rural areas;
  5. and, leveraging current funding sources by developing and submitting grant and contract applications, and recovering costs associated with the delivery of services.

In all we do, we involve stakeholders as advisors so activities are consumer-responsive, family-focused, and sensitive to the cultural heritage and values of people with disabilities and their families.

Puzzle Pieces: Putting Together the Picture of Adult Life

Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM MDT

Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle? You start with a pile of pieces and, one at a time, fit the pieces together so you can see the picture. Figuring out how your adult life will look is a bit like putting together a puzzle. Join presenters from the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities Consumer Advisory Council to explore pieces of adulthood such as mental health, transportation, college, recreation and more...and watch the puzzle take shape!

Intended audience: Youth and young adults with disabilities, parents and other family members, individuals who support young people in their transition to adult life

Presenters: Members of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities Consumer Advisory Council

Register Today!
Reserve your webinar seat now at:

Shelley's Three Loves of Life

shelley emerging leader

By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

Shelley is a 21-year-old young woman who lives in Missoula. She pursues an active life, filled with meaningful relationships, recreation, and a path towards employment.

Shelley was featured as an Emerging Leader a number of years ago when she was a junior in high school. Much has changed since then. She has matured beyond prom queen and water girl for the high school basketball team. She has started her own business. The road to this point has not always been easy, though.

Continue reading Shelley's story on the Transition and Employment Projects newsletter:

A busy week in the Nation’s Capital!

Marty Blair and Jason B at US Capitol

Marty Blair and Jason Billehus were part of a Montana disability delegation to the 2016 Disability Policy Seminar earlier this week. They participated in a number of meetings and seminars focused on improving policies and programs for people with disabilities.Montana Coffee 2016 Marty Blair with Senators Tester, Daines and Representative Zinke They met with the Montana Congressional delegation and their staff: Senators Tester, Daines and Representative Zinke.

More Articles ...

Rate our website

Community Investment Fund

Extended application deadline from May 1 to May 15.

Applications for the 2016 Community Investment Fund are now being accepted! The Community Investment Fund is made available annually for innovative projects that help people with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities alongside people without disabilities. Any Montana organization, agency, non-profit group, or individual with a creative idea to promote community inclusion is eligible to apply.

Happenings at Rural Institute

Major Programs within the Rural Institute


  • montech
  • rtc
  • Telecom Toolbox
  • mt autism center logo
  • Montana Disability Health
  • transistion-employment
  • mt id deaf blind
  • LivingWell 72dpi rgb
  • WorkingWell 72dpi rgb
  • Pre ETS TAC
  • Movin On in Montana
  • childcareplus