Dover, DE Jan. 12, 2009 – Acting Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Douglas L. Faulkner announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program to provide access to education, training and healthcare resources in rural areas. Funding for the program is subject to Congressional appropriations.
“These grants will increase the range of educational opportunities available to students in rural communities and improve access to healthcare for countless numbers of rural Americans,” Faulkner said. “The DLT program provides increased economic opportunity by expanding telecommunications, educational resources and computer networks throughout rural America.” In 2008, USDA Rural Development provided grants totaling $28.2 million under the program to 105 recipients in 41 states.
Complete applications must be received by March 24. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the December 24, 2008, Federal Register, page 79041. Materials including an application guide and full details about the program can also be obtained at www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dlt.htm or by calling the DLT program at 202-720-0413.
“This program helps local organizations that are working to provide educational opportunities and medical assistance to rural residents and rural communities,” said Marlene Elliott Brown, USDA Rural Development State Director. Examples of DLT projects funded in the past in Delaware and Maryland include a Distance Learning Grant in the amount of $65,880 to the Seaford School District. The grant supports a partnership between the Seaford School District and the University of Delaware that is providing enhanced educational opportunities through video streamlining.
In Maryland, a Telemedicine Grant in the amount of $239,482 was awarded to Sheppard Pratt Health System, Inc. based in Baltimore to provide mental health services and training to health care providers on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development has invested nearly $111 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 2 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.