USDA Invests More Than $2.6 Million to Improve Access to Distance Learning and Telemedicine in Rural Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 20, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Tennessee State Director Arlisa Armstrong today announced that the department will invest more than $2.6 million to improve access to distance learning and telemedicine in rural Tennessee.

“Good education and job training shouldn’t depend on your zip code. We work with rural communities to expand schools and support learning opportunities through Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants,” Armstrong said. “We are excited to be partnering with four local rural school systems to give students an opportunity to study and take classes virtually, without leaving their hometown. When rural people can be prosperous in their hometowns, it builds stability for the whole community.” 

Background: Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants

Today’s investments are being funded through USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program. This program helps fund distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas to increase access to education, training and health care resources that are otherwise limited or unavailable.

For example:

  • Hawkins County Board of Education will receive a $764,839 grant to equip two hub sites and eight end-user sites throughout Hawkins County in Northeastern Tennessee with Distance Learning interactive video equipment and laptops. Instructors at Hawkins County Schools will deliver Scientific, Technical, CTE and Mathematics courses to ten locations benefitting 3,525 individuals.
  • Lexington City Board of Education will receive a $831,605 grant to equip four hub/end-user sites throughout Henderson County in western Tennessee with videoconferencing equipment, including classroom audio and wireless networks. Instructors within the Lexington City School System will use the equipment for classroom instruction, and be able to address science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math curricula, and the mental health needs of students to four locations benefitting 2,000 students.
  • County of White Inc. will receive a $989,760 grant to equip nine hub/end-user sites in Middle Tennessee’s White County School District with teleconference equipment. Students and teachers at all White County School District sites will have access to career and college readiness opportunities, mental health programs, virtual field trips, professional development and academic coaching benefitting 4,050 individuals.
  • Decatur County Board of Education will receive a $92,689 to equip six hub/end-user sites in the communities of Parsons and Decaturville, in Decatur County, in Western Tennessee, with easy-to-use touch screen video conferencing equipment that will allow users to access mental health resources in a private and secure setting. Additionally, interactive smart boards, laptops and video conferencing hardware will allow students at Riverside High School access to participate in technical education courses from around the state benefitting 3,239 individuals.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit


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