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USDA Announces Funding to Increase Access to Education, Workforce Training and Health Care Opportunities in Rural Communities

Beverly Fish
Release Date

Idaho State Director Layne Bangerter announced today that USDA is awarding grants for 128 projects to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in rural areas.

USDA is awarding $39.6 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. 

“Telemedicine can reduce distance barriers and improve access to quality medical services to those who live and work in rural communities.” Bangerter said.  “USDA Rural Development investment announced today provides much needed access to modern, 21st Century communications technology that is essential for rural prosperity.” 

In Idaho, the city of Fruitland is receiving $52,480.00 to purchase telemedicine equipment for Payette County Paramedics.  The new equipment will allow paramedics to notify the hospital of life threatening emergencies, give physicians a true picture of the situation and health of the patient.  The equipment will help reduce the time it takes to receive lifesaving treatment and save lives.  The communication between the paramedics and physicians will provide significantly higher quality medical services to a rural area that has some of the lowest patient care physicians per 10,000 people in the United States.  

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.