Washington, D.C., Dec 08, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Montana and 34 other states and territories 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.
“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 including a five-county project based in Bozeman, Montana. Anderson School, the grant recipient, is teaming with the Museum of the Rockies and the University of Montana to provide educational opportunities for ten schools in Valley, Roosevelt, Big Horn, and Yellowstone Counties.
Jeff Blessum is Superintendent of Anderson Public Schools, the recipient of the grant. “Through distance learning technology, partnering districts will gain access to shared academic resources and courses currently unavailable. Distance learning technology will allow Anderson School, the Museum of the Rockies and several other rural school districts the opportunity to share high quality educational material that will enhance their existing learning environments.” Other schools involved in the project include Poplar, Frazier, Lodge Grass, Wyola Elementary, Elysian (Billings), Froid, and Wolf Point 7-12, and Southside and Northside Elementary in Wolf Point.
Awards are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the agreement with USDA. For a list of awardees that will receive funding under Rural Development’s DLT Program, please click here.
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 www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.