The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $738,000 grant to UAMS to expand the university's digital learning programs to rural areas and prisons in Arkansas.
Funds will be used to purchase portable carts that include a touch-screen monitor, keyboard and a mouse as well as a webcam, microphone and speakers, UAMS said in a news release. The carts will allow prisons to partner with higher-learning institutes and other groups to offer college courses and GED training, as well as recreational programs and substance use and sexual violence recovery programs.
Additionally, the carts will expand training options for staff, who will be able to attend presentations and lectures regardless of geographical distance.
The grant, made available through the USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine program, will be matched by $110,700 by UAMS.
The equipment will be installed later this year in the Tucker Unit, Varner Prison, the Delta Regional Unit in Dermott, North Central Prison in Calico Rock, the McPherson Unit in Newport and the Mississippi County Work Re-Entry facility in Luxora.
Carts will also be provided to hospitals in Helena, Magnolia, El Dorado, Camden, Crossett, Warren and other rural areas around the state.