“We are pleased to assist Volunteer State Community College in improving its educational opportunities,” Tracy said. “Investments such as this one, significantly advance the quality of education made available to its students, specifically those in technology and healthcare.”
USDA will award $39.6 million through the distance learning and telemedicine grant program. More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding.
Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin will use its $102,000 grant to install innovative distance learning audio/video conferencing equipment in rural high schools in six designated Appalachian counties and one exceptionally rural county in upper Middle Tennessee. The project will deliver science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula to one of the college’s satellite campuses and six high schools, which will benefit students and residents in proximity of the sites. The investment will positively impact seven end-user counties and one hub county. Students will be able to earn credits by taking accredited course work applicable towards degrees or certifications in the areas of technology and healthcare careers. The project will serve 4,379 students and a potential of 46,771 residents in the service area.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January, Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to Trump. The findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. The 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 rd.usda.gov.