USDA Rural Development Seeks Applications for Technology Grants to Expand Access to Health Care and Education in Rural Areas

Contact: Emily Cannon
(207) 990-9175



Maine Organizations Urged to Apply

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett has announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to use broadband e-Connectivity to improve access to health care and educational services in rural communities.

“Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is tackling e-Connectivity as a foundational issue for rural communities because it affects everything from business opportunities to adequate health care access,” Hazlett said. “These grants are one of many tools USDA provides to help ensure that people who live and work in rural areas can use broadband to gain access to essential services and economic opportunities.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “This critical funding can help put the tools in the hands of healthcare and educational institutes so they can make a real difference in the lives of rural Maine citizens who struggle with opioid addiction- through telemedicine equipment for treatment, recovery, and adult education. In addition, the grants can be used to help our schools incorporate STEM curricula into the learning experience, preparing Maine’s youth for bright and promising futures.”

USDA is awarding grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program. Grants can finance projects such as those to provide job training, academic instruction or access to specialized medical care.

Proposals for projects whose primary purpose is to provide opioid prevention, treatment and recovery will receive 10 priority points when applications are scored. USDA is approaching the opioid misuse crisis with a dedicated urgency because it impacts the quality of life, economic opportunity and rural prosperity.

USDA also will provide priority points for grants that offer access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses.

Grants are available to most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofit groups, for-profit businesses or a consortia of these.

The application deadline is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted via paper or electronically. For details on how to apply, see page 14245 of the April 3 Federal Register.

A recent example of a Maine project is MaineHealth, in Portland, which received a grant in the amount of $398,692. Rural Development funds were used to install telehealth videoconferencing carts at six rural medical clinics in rural Maine. This project helps to provide healthcare to those in rural communities and prevent the need for lengthy travel for healthcare consultations.

For more information, please contact Robert Nadeau, Community Programs Director at (207) 990-9121 or Robert.nadeau@me.usda.gov.

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/me.

Last Modified: 04/16/2018