News Release
Release No.STELPRD4009976
ContactJames Pendleton(406) 585-2587
(JANUARY 25, 2011) AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO INCREASE EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE ACCESS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Washington, DC, Jan 25, 2011 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that 106 projects in 38 states and one territory have been selected to receive more than $34.7 million in grants to fund educational projects and expand access to health care services in rural areas through USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.

"Too many rural areas cannot take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by broadband for improved education and health care. These funds will help communities enhance their educational and training programs and deliver improved health care services for their residents,” Vilsack said.

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. For example, an award of $213,277 to the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation in Billings will bring pediatric tele-health services in emergency and trauma care to twelve fixed sites covering 8 counties in Montana. The network will provide 24 hour pediatric and general emergency support as well as training and professional development in emergency care.

In both Thompson Falls and Winnett, the school districts will be receiving awards to increase academic opportunities for K-12 students. The initiative will allow schools to share resources, staff, and programs – helping to offset decreasing resources in the school system due to budgetary constraints. The parallel projects will connect the two districts to allow for even more resource sharing among educators and students.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. For a complete list of the DLT projects announced today, please click here.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and nearly 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.