California Rural Development to Host Listening Session to Increase Rural Access to STEM Education

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USDA Rural Development California State Director Kim Dolbow Vann today announced that California USDA will host the first in a series of listening sessions nationwide to help address the shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in rural communities March 20 in Coalinga at West Hills Community College.

The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the West Hills Community College District Board Room, at 9900 Cody Ave. in Coalinga. Registration is free and available at!view/event/event_id/2354

“As we continue to see more innovative and technology-oriented jobs offered in rural California, it demands that we focus on educating rural students to occupy these positions,” said Vann. “Through STEM education, we can meet this demand, and build rural prosperity well into the next generation.”

This listening session aims to raise awareness on how the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program can promote rural access to STEM education.

Stakeholders interested in attending any of these sessions should direct inquiries to

The FY 2017 appropriations bill signed by President Donald J. Trump on May 5, 2017, directed USDA through the Telecommunications Program to develop an implementation plan for increasing rural access to education in STEM fields. USDA is working with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and other federal agencies to promote access to STEM across the country.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Last Modified: 03/19/2018