USDA is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.
“Increasing access to telemedicine and distance learning is critical to building healthier and more resilient rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “. . . These investments will help rural health care centers and education institutions reach more rural residents with essential services and opportunities."
USDA is funding 116 projects in 40 states through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. The program helps health care and education institutions buy the equipment and software necessary to deploy distance-learning and telemedicine services to rural residents.
Investments will be made in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
- In Wisconsin, the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10 will use a $1 million grant to upgrade distance learning technology that will allow for cloud-based bridging and provide videoconferencing endpoints at 39 school districts in 14 counties in west central Wisconsin.
- The Lower Yukon School District in Alaska will use a $1 million grant to assist the district with the purchase of interactive video conferencing equipment needed to deliver distance learning to residents of Anchorage and Kusilvak Census Area. The project seeks to build on past efforts and develop a distance learning curriculum that includes Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) courses and opportunities, as well as other courses.
- Mountain Comp Care Center in Kentucky will use a $1 million grant to upgrade their existing network infrastructure and replace aging software and hardware. This will take place in 20 counties across 36 sites in eastern, central and. Western Kentucky.