News Release
Release No.STELPRD4009297
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DISTANCE LEARNING GRANT IMPACTS SCHOOLS IN SOUTHWESTERN MINNESOTA
MARSHALL, Jan 24, 2011 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative in Marshall, Minn. today to award a $369,906 grant to purchase and install distance learning equipment in 17 area schools. The grant was awarded through Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program.

“Projects like this help create equal access to valuable educational and vocational opportunities,” Landkamer said. “Distance learning and telemedicine also helps connect rural regions so they can better address issues like education, workforce training and economic development.”

Video conferencing equipment at each school will result in expanded course and advanced course choices, improved special education coursework, and continuing education and job training programs for all area residents. The equipment also helps each school meet yearly progress goals and academic standards.

The following schools are part of the project: Adrian, Canby, Cedar Mountain, Jackson County Central, Lincoln HI Elementary, Lincoln HI High School, Luverne, Lynd, Marshall, Minneota, Pipestone, RTR, Sleepy Eye, Southwest Star Concept, Springfield, Westbrook/Walnut Grove and Windom.

“This project will open the door to expanded opportunities in the participating school districts that will greatly enhance the educational opportunities available to our students,” said Josh Sumption, Manager of IT for SW/WC Service Cooperative and leader of the DLT project. “This is just another example of how our schools find ways to work together to benefit the overall education atmosphere in our area of the state. The technology provided through this program will enable us to stay competitive with metropolitan school districts when it comes to course offerings and opportunities for students.”

Nationally, 106 organizations were awarded over $34 million for DLT projects. The DLT Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

Rural Development also finances housing, infrastructure, facilities and businesses in rural communities. To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or call the local office in Marshall at (507) 532-3234, ext. 4.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).