USDA Provides Funding to Increase Access to Educational and Health Care Services in Rural Areas

Contact: Alec Lloyd
(517) 324-5204

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is awarding grants for broadband projects to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in rural areas in 35 states.

“Broadband technology helps provide career opportunities and deliver critical medical services to rural residents,” Hazlett said. “It allows rural hospitals to better diagnose and treat patients. It helps treat people who are struggling with opioid and other substance use disorders. It also helps bring jobs to rural areas.”

USDA is awarding 72 grants totaling $23.6 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. This program funds equipment that uses broadband to help rural communities connect to advanced learning and specialized medical services.

In Michigan, Rural Development funds will help implement a distance learning program at the Michigan Science Center. Twenty-three end-user sites in 16 counties will connect to the Michigan Science Center and the Henry Ford Health System so they can explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from remote locations. These educational opportunities provide multiple entry points into meaningful career pathways for students.             

“Communications technology is allowing rural communities to escape from the tyranny of distance and gain access to world-class educational resources,” said State Director for Michigan Jason Allen.  “This is a great example of how we are leveraging Michigan’s urban resources to help its rural areas.”

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: 01/19/2018