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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Frank Frassetto announced that USDA is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.
“Access to distance learning makes it easier for thousands of rural residents and students to take advantage of educational opportunities if they do not have a robust broadband connection at their disposal. We are excited to partner with Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10 (CESA 10) and assist all of these school districts,” Frassetto said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, we have been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Wisconsin in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In Wisconsin, CESA 10 is receiving a $1 million grant to implement a distance learning technology upgrade. The Achieving Wisconsin Equity (AWE) Project will allow for cloud-based bridging and provide videoconferencing endpoints at 39 school districts in 14 counties in west central Wisconsin. AWE will address a lack of educational opportunities for students, lack of trained teachers and the lack of access to education and treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. AWE will leverage existing, well established partnerships between CESA 10, school districts, institutions of higher education and mental health care providers, while also expanding connections to local county health departments and law enforcement. The outcomes of AWE will impact more than 10,000 high school students and 2,100 PK-12 teachers in the region.
School Districts include: Abbotsford, Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan, Arcadia, Athens, Auburndale, Augusta, Blair-Taylor, Bloomer, Bruce, Cochrane-Fountain, Colby, Colfax, Durand-Arkansaw, Edgar, Eleva-Strum, Elk Mound, Fall Creek, Flambeau, Gale-Ettrick-Trempeleau, Gilmanton, Granton, Greenwood, Independence, Ladysmith, Lake Holcombe, Loyal, Marathon, Melrose-Mindoro, Mondovi, Neillsville, New Auburn, Osseo-Fairchild, Owen-Withee, Spencer, Spooner, Stratford, Thorp, Tomorrow River and Whitehall.
USDA is funding 116 projects through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps health care and education institutions buy the equipment and software necessary to deploy distance-learning and telemedicine services to rural residents.
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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi, call us at 715-345-7600 or email email@example.com.