GHENT, WV (WVNS) — Today, December 20, 2022, Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore-Capito announced $2,195,601 from  from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program for 18 projects across West Virginia.

USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants Program provides funding to rural communities to purchase advanced telecommunications technology and help overcome the effects of remoteness and low population density in connecting to the world.

“Investing in our communities spurs economic development and creates good-paying, long-term jobs. I am pleased USDA is investing more than $2.1 million in these 18 critical projects across West Virginia, which will boost economic growth, help equip our schools with telecommunications technology and assist agricultural producers in making energy efficiency improvements. The funding will also support providing quality, affordable housing for low-income families and bolstering water and wastewater infrastructure across the state. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of these projects and I will continue advocating for funding to ensure our rural communities across the Mountain State have the resources they need to thrive.”

Senator Joe Manchin

The local projects include $462,000 for the Pocahontas County Board of Education and $107,980 for the Southern Appalachian Labor School.

The funding for the Pocahontas County Board of Education will be used to create a controlled atmosphere for operational efficiency and longevity of distance learning network equipment and end-user devices. Green Bank Elementary and Middle School is located within two distinct radio quiet zones and in order to minimize harmful interference, the equipment for this location must be hard wired and shielded. 3,000 rural residents will benefit from this project.

The USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grants Program provides funding to organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low-income rural citizens.

“Rural Development investments like these from USDA help support specific needs in our communities that have the ability to improve the lives of West Virginians. From making sure our schools have state-of-the-art equipment, to equipping rural communities with the resources and infrastructure they need to compete in a national and global economy, to ensuring access to affordable housing is there for all our citizens, this $2.1 million investment from the USDA sets up West Virginia communities for a future of success.”

Senator Shelley Moore-Capito

The funding for the Southern Appalachian Labor School will be used to rehabilitate 10 homes for low and very low-income individuals in Fayette, Nicholas, Kanawha and Raleigh counties.