Buffalo, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $221,780 in federal funding for the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program to advance educational opportunities and expand access to health care to rural areas through communications technology. Specifically, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services will use the funding to provide enhanced video conferencing capabilities and expanded higher education distance learning course offerings to approximately 3400 students in Western New York.
“This grant will dramatically expand access to higher education in Western New York’s rural communities,” said Senator Schumer. “By leveraging this cutting-edge distance learning technology, we can ensure our rural communities have the access to the education they deserve, and the training they need to succeed in today’s workforce. I’m proud to support the exceptional work the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services is doing and will keep fighting to bring this kind of funding to NY State.”
“Implementing distance learning programs is an effective way to help rural areas gain access to a wide range of opportunities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “A well-rounded education is important and possible for our kids if a wide range of options are readily available. This funding will help provide students in Western New York with opportunities to receive a quality education and acquire the skills necessary for securing good-paying jobs.”
The collaboration between two BOCES regions of New York State under this program is unique. It is the result of years of relationship building and collaboration between the two distance learning services. It will enable students in our rural communities to have new educational opportunities. This funding will expand course offerings providing additional opportunities for students to earn college credit during their high school years,” said Dr. David O’Rourke, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES District Superintendent/CEO.
The DLT program is specifically designed to assist rural communities in acquiring distance learning and tele-medical technologies so that local teachers and medical service providers who serve rural residents can establish interactive video conferencing links to teachers, medical professionals, and other needed expertise located at distances too far to access otherwise. Since the program’s inception in 1994, the DLT Program has helped to establish hundreds of distance learning programs and telemedicine systems that have made a difference in the lives of thousands of people living in rural communities throughout the United States. Funding is available to medical and educational entities as well as corporations, partnerships, states or local units of government as well as tribal organizations among others. For more information, visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_dlt.html.