Congressman Pete Stauber (R-MN) has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be allocating funds to expand access to healthcare and education opportunities in rural Minnesota.
USDA will be allocating more than $730,000 for two projects in Minnesota.
One project involves the Education Innovation Partners Cooperative Center. They will be receiving $500,000 to provide distance learning services to 28 sites in Minnesota counties of Aitkin, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis. This investment enables 1,500 teachers to provide distance learning to about 21,000 students every year.
The other $234,648 will go to CentraCare Health System to create a telemedicine project to address the shortage of healthcare specialty physicians in rural areas. Eight Minnesota counties, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Renville, Stearns, Swift, Todd, and Wadena, will have video equipment set up and an additional 2,000 patients will be served over the next two years.
Minnesota isn’t the only state receiving funding for these rural projects. 37 other states and two United States territories have received $42.5 million in investments from the USDA that will fund 133 distance learning and telemedicine programs.
“Access to a quality education and healthcare is vital, but unfortunately those living in our rural communities are too often left behind,” Congressman Stauber said adding that he is “grateful to the USDA for allocating these funds to Minnesota’s rural communities.”
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.