Press Release

Welch Applauds USDA Grant to Expand Educational Opportunities and Improve Workforce Development in Rural Communities

Dec 4, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today applauded the announcement of $635,465 in federal grant funding to Vermont State University (VTSU) to expand educational opportunities and workforce development in rural communities. The grant is authorized through the USDA’s Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) grant program, which provides rural communities with key resources to access advanced telecommunications technology and promote more opportunities in rural America.  

“This grant from the USDA will be a game-changer in expanding access to learning opportunities for students of all types in Vermont’s rural communities. Importantly, it will enable Vermont State University to enhance telepresence classroom technology, helping Vermont learners take advantage of VTSU’s offerings and jumpstart their education,” said Sen. Peter Welch. “I applaud the USDA for their continued commitment to investing in the education of rural students and developing our workforce here in Vermont.” 

“Accessibility in rural higher education is absolutely critical to the success of our students, especially those juggling work demands and other obligations as they work towards their degrees. Vermont State University is proud to be a model for hybrid education which allows learners of all ages and backgrounds greater flexibility and options that meet both their learning styles and family circumstances. This grant enables us to upgrade classrooms with new and modern technology, enhancing the student experience. Very importantly, we are better positioned to support the state’s workforce needs in high-demand areas like nursing and connect with our high school dual-enrollment, early college students,” said Dr. David Bergh, President of Vermont State University. 

Vermont State University will use this grant to benefit nearly 6,000 students by enhancing telecommunications equipment for new learning sites, investing in new state-of-the-art software tools to assist teacher-student engagement, and helping instructors deliver instructional content across multiple subject areas. 

To learn more about USDA Rural Development programs, click here