USDA Rural Development program has awarded $194,053 to the ILC

The USDA Rural Development program has awarded $194,053 to the ILC to complete building renovations and expand distance learning technology to  all three high schools in Lake County, as well as the Lake District Hospital.

The USDA Rural Development program has awarded $194,053 to the ILC to complete building renovations and expand distance learning technology to all three high schools in Lake County, as well as the Lake District Hospital.

A grant of $194,053 will help Klamath Community College (KCC) provide college-level courses to Lake County residents. The funds will support installation of advanced communications technology providing live, real time video connections allowing KCC instructors to deliver college courses to students in five Lake County locations: the Innovation and Learning Center, Lake District Hospital, Lakeview High School, Paisley Public Charter School and North Lake High School.

Access to post-secondary education and training opportunities are challenges that rural communities have consistently struggled with. Repeatedly, Lake County has struggled to attract or create business partly due to the lack of a sufficient workforce, entrepreneurial training, and its remote location. The cost of higher education exceeds the resources of many, inhibits our local young people from attending college, and puts them at a disadvantage when trying to join the workforce.  The State of Oregon has recognized these educational challenges and in 2011 the State of Oregon established a goal known as 40-40-20. The ambitious objective for educational attainment calls for 40 percent of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful post-secondary certificate, and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025. In March 2013, Governor Kitzhaber approved The Innovation & Learning Center as an Oregon Solutions Project, serving as a model of one way the State might achieve the 40-40-20 goals.

The Innovation & Learning Center (ILC) has been providing an opportunity for distance learning education since September 2013.  In the ILC’s Fall 2013 semester, 26 students were enrolled and earned 260 credit hours.  Just a year later, the Fall 2014 semester has 56 students enrolled and earning 467 credits.  The USDA Rural Development Distance Learning grant will expand the technology to five additional classrooms throughout Lake County to the Lake District Hospital and all three high schools in the county. Helping to meet the demand for local, educational opportunities.  The USDA grant will allow the program to grow to over 100 students by the end of 2015.

The USDA Rural Development grant will allow the ILC to offer dual credit opportunities.  Lake County high school students will be able to complete over 20 percent of their college credits by the time of high school graduation and dramatically reduce college tuition.  The ILC will also be able to offer high school students one year of college education at no cost to the student.  Currently, two Lakeview High School students have planned their courses at ILC so that by high school graduation they will have an associate’s degree from Klamath Community College.  The USDA grant will allow students at all Lake County high schools this opportunity and will serve as a model for other rural areas in Oregon and across the nation.

Distance learning opportunities are not limited to high school students. The Innovation & Learning Center will serve all Lake County residents interested in completing college courses, certificates or degrees.  Due to the local need for qualified nurses, course offerings have initially focused on the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and pre-nursing programs at the Lake District Hospital.  Once fully implemented, curriculum will expand and diversify to meet students’ educational goals and career interests.

Leave A Comment