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The United States Department of Agriculture awarded UAMS a $738,000 grant to expand the university’s digital learning programs to rural areas and prisons in Arkansas.
The funds will be used to purchase portable carts that include a touchscreen, keyboard and mouse as well as a webcam, microphone and speakers, UAMS said in a press release. The carts will allow prisons to partner with institutes of higher learning and other groups to offer college courses and GED training, as well as recreational programs and recovery programs from substance abuse and sexual violence. .
Additionally, the carts will expand training options for staff, who will be able to attend presentations and lectures regardless of geographic distance.
The grant, made available by the USDA Distance learning and Telememedicine program, will be matched by $110,700 per UAMS.
The equipment will be installed later this year at the Tucker Unit, Varner Jail, Delta Regional Unit in Dermott, North Central Jail in Calico Rock, McPherson Unit in Newport and the County Rehabilitation Center from Mississippi to Luxora.
Carts will also be provided to hospitals in Helena, Magnolia, El Dorado, Camden, Crossett, Warren and other rural areas of the state.