Colleges going the 'distance' with federal learning grants
Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 1:47 pm
The Messenger 02.23.11
A new era of learning opportunities for West Tennessee students, teachers and workers was celebrated recently as U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher and USDA Rural Development state director Bobby Goode announced federal distance learning grants that will reach 11 high schools and six satellite campuses.
The two back-to-back events took place in interactive television classrooms at Jackson State Community College (JSCC) and Dyers-burg State Community College (DSCC).
“Students today are growing up in the most connected, most diverse and most competitive world ever known,” Fincher said. “Utilizing distance learning is an excellent tool to allow today’s scholars to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and job creators.”
USDA Rural Develop-ment grants of $489,171 to JSCC and $343,580 to DSCC open the door to dual enrollment college courses for area high school students and increased access for adults to the Tennessee State Diploma Project, the Adult Education and Workforce Development Center and other resources.
“The partnership of Jackson State and Dyersburg State, along with the area high schools, promises to give West Tennessee an advantage in the fight for a quality workforce development,” Fincher said. “The rural parts of West Tennessee are fortunate to have Bobby Goode and his team at USDA working hard for our benefit.”
DSCC President Karen Bowyer said a previous grant of $170,000 in stimulus funds brings the total investment in distance learning and workforce development to $513,580. The investment will be used to purchase equipment and set up interactive television classrooms at South Fulton, Obion County Central, Munford and Brighton high schools, as well as DSCC locations in Dyersburg, Trenton and Covington.
JSCC President Dr. Bruce Blanding said the investment will be used to purchase equipment and set up interactive classrooms at high schools in Carroll, Decatur, Gibson, Hardin, Hardeman, Haywood, Hen-derson, Henry, Madison and Weakley counties, as well as JSCC satellite campuses.
“Students and workers in West Tennessee should have the same opportunities they would have living anywhere else,” Goode said. “The President has made rural access to broadband a priority and at USDA Rural Development, we are helping people in rural communities use this technology to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.”
The USDA Rural Devel-opment distance learning and telemedicine (DLT) grant program increases the range of educational opportunities available to students and teachers, improves access to quality healthcare and opens up new economic opportunities for families, individuals and businesses in rural America. For more information on Rural Development telecommunications programs, contact Terry Kokinda at (615) 451-9498 or Terry.Kokinda@wdc.usda.gov.
Goode praised Kokinda for working with schools, healthcare providers and the private sector to make Tennessee one of the top recipients of Rural Development DLT grants.