U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to UA Cossatot. This grant supports a Medical Mobile Unit and creates a healthcare simulation lab and telemedicine space at all four campuses. This EDA grant is expected to create 105 jobs.

“President Biden is committed to harnessing the full power of the federal government to ensure our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Cossatot Community College will provide rural communities with access to healthcare and healthcare training programs to prepare students for good-paying, quality jobs.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will create a Wellness Education Learning and Living (WELL) community with a Medical Mobile Unit to provide urgent care and create a healthcare simulation lab and telemedicine space to train workers in high-demand healthcare fields.”

“This grant is a real benefit to rural Arkansas,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for more healthcare options in rural Arkansas and the benefit of telemedicine. The funds will make a positive impact on the economy and the health of Arkansans.”

“Congress came together in a bipartisan way to pass the CARES Act to strengthen our communities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent challenges it presents,” said Senator John Boozman. “I am pleased the EDA recognizes the need for expanded health care access and training in Southwest Arkansas and is making this investment to help the region better meet existing and future needs that will also result in more good jobs.”

“Rural America is too often overlooked for federal grants,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “That’s why I’m so grateful that the bipartisan CARES Act is making this critical health care investment possible. The residents of De Queen and the students at Cossatot Community College will benefit greatly from the jobs and training opportunities this grant will support. Smart, targeted investment like this greatly aids rural America’s post-pandemic recovery.”

“We feel this grant will impact Medical Education in Southwest Arkansas like nothing ever before, said UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole. “This WELL grant will allow UA Cossatot to establish four medical simulation/telemedicine labs on each of our four campuses in DeQueen, Lockesburg, Nashville, and Ashdown, two Ambulance Simulators on two campuses, the establishment of a new Medical Lab Technician program, and we will be purchasing a complete mobile medical unit that our medical faculty and students will be using to assist with health care needs around our service area. It is truly a game-changer for our college, and we can’t be more thankful to our Federal Delegation for helping see this through”.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District (SWAPDD). EDA funds SWAPDD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

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