News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016741
ContactDawn Knepp717-237--2286
Williamsport, PA, Jun 12, 2012 --

@@Local Contact: Dawn Knepp (717) 237-2286

Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Doug O’Brien Highlights Distance Learning Project to Increase Educational Opportunities in Rural Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 — Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien today highlighted funding for a distance learning and telemedicine project that will increase and enhance educational opportunities in Northern Pennsylvania.

“Rural school districts should have access to the same educational services as their fellow citizens in urban areas," said O’Brien. “The grant for Blast Intermediate Unit #17 will help ensure that rural students and teachers across four counties and 37 educational facilities will receive state-of-the-art educational, career and professional development courses.”

Blast Intermediate Unit will connect students and teachers in four counties by installing 39 videoconferencing suites. The advanced technology will facilitate expanded course offerings and professional development opportunities throughout the 37 schools, with a special focus on the educational needs of low-income students.

Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 52 distance learning and telemedicine projects that will increase access to health care and enhance educational opportunities in 29 states. For a complete list of the DLT awards, please click here.

Since taking office, the Obama 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 is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working 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. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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 areas.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).