The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office in Virginia today highlighted an agency investment in Pittsylvania County that will increase access to educational services.
“In today’s information-driven economy, broadband technology is essential to the community and economic development of rural areas,” said Beth Green, USDA Rural Development State Director of Virginia. “We are proud to assist students of Pittsylvania County to tap into the enormous potential of modern telecommunication services that will expand their access to education and resources.”
The Pittsylvania County School Board was awarded more than $215,000 through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program to purchase networking equipment, video conferencing equipment and software for Pittsylvania County schools. The investment will benefit an entire hub and 20 end-user sites in seven communities.
Video conferencing equipment will expand student access to interactive distance learning services and educational services provided in partnership by organizations such as the Houston Audubon Society, Team Kaizen, NASA Johnson Space Center, and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, a regional catalyst for economic transformation.
Virginia is just one of a handful of states announced today that received funding through this program.
The announcement comes as a part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement today 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.
Several recipients will use the grants to help address two of the nation’s most urgent needs: opioid abuse treatment and mental health counseling.
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 www.rd.usda.gov.