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Funding to Access Education, Workforce Training and Health Care Opportunities Announced

Weldon Freeman
Washington, D.C.
Release Date

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is awarding grants for 128 projects to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in rural areas.

   “Empowering rural Americans with access to services for quality of life and economic development is critical to rural prosperity,” Secretary Perdue said. “Distance learning and telemedicine technology bridges the gap that often exists between rural communities and essential education, workforce training and health care resources.”

   USDA is awarding $37 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program.  More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding. Many of the projects announced today will help combat the opioid crisis and other substance misuse issues. 

Below is the summary of the project being funded in San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico:

  • The Rural Development investment will assist San Juan College's "Native American Access Project" (NAAP) provide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education programs and training through the purchase and installation of distance learning equipment. The project will increase collaboration through the implementation of new interactive video equipment at one high school in La Plata county, Colorado, two high schools in San Juan County, New Mexico and one high school in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. The project provides network and video-conferencing equipment, increasing access to STEM education courses and dual credit courses, which includes collaboration with the Unlimited Learning Center offering medical training. The project provides advanced educational opportunities to schools with a minority-majority American Indian population and will increase all participating students success in college or a career and add content knowledge to practicing teachers. This project will serve more than 7,772 students within total population area of 26,797.

    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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.