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

Delane Johnson
Release Date

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is awarding grants for 128 projects to increase access to job training (PDF, 351 KB), 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 $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.

Below are summaries of some of USDA’s investments in rural North Carolina communities:

  • Daymark Recovery Services, Inc is receiving $391,498 to provide video conferencing solutions to the provision of mental health and substance abuse services, including opioid abuse services. The project will serve seven NC sites projected to benefit 36,792 patients.

  • South Piedmont Community College (SPCC), located in Anson County is receiving $349,767 to develop distance learning to bring Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) resources to the students of Anson County. The project will provide STEM courses to more than 650 Anson County SPCC and Anson High School students enrolled in college courses.

  • Edgecombe County Schools is receiving $162,989 to implement distance learning labs to provide Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) education for Edgecombe County students.

  • Metropolitan Community Health Services is receiving $375,996 to provide opioid treatment services using telemedicine technology at six sites in rural eastern North Carolina. Services will include opioid treatment, counseling of opioid misuse, training for medical professionals, counselors and first responders who interact with opioid users and education programs address opioid misuse.

  • Roanoke-Chowan Community College Foundation is receiving $439,457 to assist Roanoke Chowan Community College to establish a distance learning teleconferencing network in eight NC communities. The network will include twelve area businesses and five EMS departments and will deliver Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related career training to the 68,050 residents as well as the 7,500 employees of the businesses.

  • East Carolina University is receiving $346,423 to assist the College of Engineering and Technology to purchase video conferencing kits for eleven sites in three eastern NC counties. This project will build the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) skill base, expand workforce development and develop a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) network benefitting more than 3,700 students and faculty.

  • Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. is receiving $89,222 to establish a telehealth program to provide opioid medication assisted treatment services in Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties.

  • Stanly County Schools is receiving $447,280 to building a distance learning program providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) curricula at nineteen schools in Stanly County.

  • NC Central University is receiving $788,521 for two projects to purchase distance learning equipment to expand its network to twenty-four additional rural sites across NC for law education services, mental health education and substance misuse.

  • Washington County Board of Education is receiving $315,448 to purchase video conference equipment for distance learning services to connect nine schools and three districts. The project will serve a population of over 6,400.

   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.