Stauber Announces Investment to Expand Rural Education and Healthcare Access in Minnesota

December 3, 2019
Press Release
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Investments will benefit 2,573 Rural Residents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allocate more than $730,000 for two projects that will expand access to education and healthcare opportunities in rural Minnesota.

Of this investment, Congressman Stauber stated, “Access to a quality education and healthcare is vital, but unfortunately those living in our rural communities are too often left behind. I am grateful to the USDA for allocating these funds to Minnesota’s rural communities. By expanding access to distance learning and telemedicine services, even more of our rural residents will be able to live happy and prosperous lives.”

Education Innovation Partners Cooperative Center is receiving a $500,000 grant to provide distance learning services to 28 sites across six Minnesota counties: Aitkin, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis. The USDA’s investment will enable approximately 1,500 teachers to provide distance learning opportunities for 21,000 students, annually.

CentraCare Health System is receiving a $234,648 grant to establish a telemedicine project and address the shortage of specialty care physicians in rural areas. Video equipment will be placed at 10 locations in eight central Minnesota counties: Kandiyohi, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Renville, Stearns, Swift, Todd, and Wadena. An additional 73 individual patient sites will be added as a result of this project with an estimated additional 2,000 patients served over the project’s two-year period.

Stauber’s announcement is in coordination with Deputy Under Secretary LaVoy’s recent announcement that the USDA is investing $42.5 million in 133 distance learning and telemedicine projects in 37 states and two U.S. territories: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The USDA is providing the funding through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. These investments will benefit 5.4 million rural residents.