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RIIC longest-serving staff member retires after 32 years of service

The longest-serving staff member of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities recently retired after 32 years of service. We wanted to take advantage of Joyce’s institutional knowledge. In her own words, we asked her to record her memories of the early days.

I started at the Montana University Affiliated Program Satellite in October 1978 in Helena (Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education) and was the second staff to be hired, after the Director. 

After touring the 3 state’s universities, Missoula was selected to be home for the Rural Institute.  In June 1979, the four-member staff moved to Missoula and shared a rental house near the university. 

Coninue reading Joyce's memories

University of Montana Rural Institute For Inclusive Communities

Center for Excellence in Disability Education, Research, and Service

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is committed to creating better lives for rural people with disabilities and their families. With innovative services, training and research, RIIC strives to improve independence and participation of people with disabilities in everyday activities and all aspects of the community.

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Hellen Keller


Featured Program/Product: RTC Rural

Research projects at RTC: Rural focus on community participation and independent living, health & wellness, and employment and vocational rehabilitation.  Research products include: Living and Working Well with a Disability, health promotion programs for people with disabilities; Telecom Toolbox, a resource for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors; and the Transportation Voucher program available from the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL).

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  • Living Well helps participants to set and reach quality-of-life goals by developing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Working Well builds on the concepts introduced in the Living Well program but focuses on improving health in preparation for, or maintaining, employment.

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Telecom Toolbox supports career development professionals and job seekers in using online tools. 

  • Communication
  • Online Career Development
  • Ethics

Transportation Voucher

  • Our research suggested that a major cause of the lack of transportation in rural communities is the lack of resources for transportation.
  • Our partner, APRIL, conducted a national evaluation of the voucher model and provides a toolkit for implementing the program on its website.