Kuster, USDA Rural Development, CCSNH Announce River Valley Community College Opening in Lebanon
Lebanon, NH – On August 25, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH02) joined with local, state and federal officials to announce that the former Lebanon College will reopen next year as a new branch of River Valley Community College. Kuster has been working with local stakeholders for the past two years on the reopening of the college.
“I am thrilled to join with River Valley Community College, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the USDA, and our many partners to make the announcement today that Lebanon College will be reopening. The investment by the USDA to this project is a critical one to the community of Lebanon and the entire region—it will help create a skilled workforce, create jobs, and support local businesses for years to come,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I fought to include this initiative in the 2014 Farm Bill knowing that there is tremendous potential for the partnership with USDA and the Community College System, and today represents the first of many projects that we will embark on using the USDA’s new rural community college initiative to expand education access throughout the Granite State.”
The reopening of the school in Lebanon was made possible in part by a $1.6 million loan awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) to the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). The loan stemmed from an amendment Congresswoman Kuster introduced to the 2014 Farm Bill directing USDA to partner with local communities to increase investment in rural community colleges. After her amendment became law, Kuster worked to bring together representatives from the Community College System of New Hampshire and USDA representatives, and the partnership resulted in the reopening of the Lebanon college as a branch of River Valley Community College, and it opened the door for similar projects in the future.
Congresswoman Kuster and local officials and representatives from USDA-Rural Development and CCSNH, and other stakeholders announced the opening of the college during a press conference today. Following the press conference, the participants held a USDA seminar on Community College Infrastructure Development for local stakeholders. During the seminar, participants got a chance to hear about and discuss how the USDA rural community college initiative could help enhance educational and economic opportunities in rural areas for students and workers, and they discussed how the initiative could affect specific programs and organizations represented at the summit and from across the region.