Lexington, KY, Dec 08, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that recipients in Kentucky will receive funding to improve access to health care and educational services in rural areas. Funding is provided through the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program and includes five projects serving rural residents in more than a dozen counties.
“This program delivers educational and medical opportunities that are urgently needed in remote, rural areas,” Vilsack said. “President Obama has said that no matter where you live in America, you should have access to quality educational opportunities. Rural Americans deserve the same opportunities for education and medical care as metropolitan-area residents, and these funds will make that happen.”
The grants, administered by USDA Rural Development through its Rural Utilities Service, will help fund 100 distance learning and telemedicine projects. Kentucky’s five projects total nearly $1.4 million and will benefit rural residents in 13 counties.
Tom Fern, State Director for Rural Development, said the Bath County School District will receive a $462,157 grant to establish a distance learning system in Bath and Menifee counties in an effort to improve academic excellence. In the spirit of collaboration, this project will enhance curriculum offerings through shared classes, the creation of specialized learning situations for each student, the expansion of foreign language offerings and the availability of dual credit to increase college attendance.
The Bath County project will benefit 13 sites, including elementary, middle and high schools, academies and adult learning centers, and each one will receive portable media carts and desktop video systems to deliver shared content. The school systems’ goal is to assist teachers in gaining National Board Certified status; train highs school students in first-responder programs and establish specialized programs and seminars to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.
Also included in this round of awards is funding to:
• Pendleton County School District was awarded a grant for $498,546 to assist three northern Kentucky school districts create a distance learning program.
• Grace Community Health Center will receive a $79,826 grant to link the center’s hub in the city of Gray to its partner office in the city of Manchester, as well as other rural hospitals in the region.
• Kentucky River Community Care was approved for $117,560 in grant funds to provide professional services and development and training for 14 community mental health centers and hospitals in the Kentucky Behavioral Telehealth Network.
• Norton Healthcare Foundation was awarded a grant in the amount of $238,398 to purchase and install telemedicine equipment at three rural hospitals in Kentucky and Indiana.
For a list of awardees that will receive funding under Rural Development’s DLT Program, please click here. Awards are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the agreement with USDA.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses, entrepreneurs and people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 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 a portfolio of more than $160 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.
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).