USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel made a major announcement to Region II School of Applied Technology, in Houlton, on Friday. The School received the news that it will benefit from three USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants.
The grant funds will provide access for adult learners in rural Maine to improve their employability and obtain marketable technical skills. This project has three wings, with each wing of this network introducing a new configuration of rural end-users and content providers who will add value to the education network: Read more »
Yesterday, I joined local and state leaders at an event in North Carolina highlighting the Obama Administration’s drive to provide top-quality educational and health care opportunities to rural residents. I went to James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, N.C., to highlight USDA funding that will enable the faculty to provide college-level and advanced placement courses to students in five high schools. It’s one of 100 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants awarded by USDA Rural Development nationwide.
These grants, administered through the Rural Utilities Service, are in keeping with the spirit of remarks President Obama made in a State of the Union Address. If we want this country to succeed in the 21st century, we must harness the potential of every young person in this country. It’s an economic imperative that we have a highly educated, highly trained – and healthy – workforce. Distance learning and telemedicine technology can effectively eliminate the barriers of time and distance that often challenge rural areas – bridging great distances to provide quality educational and health care opportunities to individuals that are hundreds, even thousands of miles away. Read more »
I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »
In rural America, especially in frontier regions of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska the shortage of health care professionals tends to be pronounced. For example, 55 of South Dakota’s 66 counties, or 83 percent of all counties, are designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage areas. There are even greater disparities in South Dakota rural areas regarding access to specialists. USDA Rural Development grants to Avera Regional Health System have been instrumental in developing and expanding telehealth services cost effectively to the smallest and most underserved hospitals and communities. Read more »
Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)
In the days of the Great Depression, the National Recovery Act had as part of its focus the development of rural America. The primary initiatives of that era were development of electrical and telephone systems throughout the nation. Read more »