Student on Computer

Coahoma Awarded $943,884 Grant by USDA Rural Development

Coahoma Community College is proud to announce that the institution has been awarded a USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant amounting to $943,884.

Coahoma Awarded $943,884 Grant by USDA Rural Development

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Marriel Hardy

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Thu Oct 8, 2020

Coahoma Community College is proud to announce that the institution has been awarded a USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant amounting to $943,884.

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) recently welcomed almost $3.5 million in telemedicine and distance learning grants to five healthcare and educational organizations in Mississippi.

Coahoma Community College President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner is glad to see the college receive funds to expand its reach within its five-county service area. The institution has recently increased its efforts to build more expansive technological infrastructures in recent months. This award builds upon Coahoma’s commitment of providing accessible educational opportunities for all.

"Excited and ready to implement the project is our mood at Coahoma. External funds are always needed to enhance the efficiency of meeting the educational needs of our students and constituents. This grant partnership will enable the college to create innovative and transformative strides relative to infusing technology into our educational and training programs," said Towner. "Deliverables generated from the USDA rural development grant are sure to help all of our students. The future is bright at Coahoma."

According to the USDA's website, the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use telecommunications' unique capabilities to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another.

Letha Richards, director of Educational Outreach, was the principal writer of the grant. She sees awards like this as opportunities for Coahoma to better serve the broader community.

"I am very pleased and excited about the funding of CCC's RUS DLT 2020 project: Creating Access to Interactive Technology across the Mississippi Delta.  We pursued this opportunity to expand our rural district's access to our programs and faculty as well as to strengthen the STEM pipeline through interactive technologies," said Richard. 

USDA Rural Development offers loans, grants, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services such as housing, health care; first responder services and equipment; and water, electric, and communications infrastructure.

Richards added, "this grant will allow us to purchase distance learning equipment and infuse cutting-edge technology, such as Z-space, in our science classrooms, both face-to-face and virtual.  By engaging the learner through exploration and experiential learning activities, we can then create exciting learning experiences to take learners in the Rural Delta to places they never thought they would go and help them do things they never thought they would do! And this will truly be an awesome moment for them!  Our K-12 partners for this project include Madison Palmer High School in Marks, Ms., Northside High School in Shelby, Ms. and Coahoma Early College High School in Clarksdale, Ms."

Additionally, the USDA promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. They offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations.