Wyden, Merkley: Baker Technical Institute Earns Federal Health Care Training Grant for Students in Eastern Oregon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the Baker Technical Institute has secured a $147,203 federal grant to increase access to health care training for rural students in remote and frontier areas of eastern Oregon.

The rural development investment in the Baker facility will allow it to establish a state-of-the-art distance learning system that lets students participate in health care classes remotely at the Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day, Harney District Hospital in Burns, Morrow County Health District in Heppner, and Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise.

“Eastern Oregon benefits in a big way from this good news that taps into technology to educate the health care providers of tomorrow in rural communities,” Wyden said. “The importance of telemedicine and distance learning has been magnified during the coronavirus pandemic, and I’m gratified that Eastern Oregon has earned these federal resources to support a robust health care system and a strong quality of life.”

“High quality, reliable broadband internet service has never been more important than it is right now—especially for our students who are learning remotely, and for our health care providers who are working around the clock to provide exceptional care and essential services to their communities,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “I’m pleased that this funding is headed to our state, where it will make Baker Technical Institute’s remote health classes accessible for more students, and help us keep communities in Eastern Oregonian safe.”

This distance learning grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also will provide access to a Certified Nursing Assistant program and courses in phlebotomy, medical assistant training, emergency medicine, and medical terminology.

“At a time when health care is under a spotlight for its critical importance, Baker Technical Institute is excited to be able to offer top-notch health care training programs for students in our rural communities,” said Baker Technical Institute President Doug Dalton. “This grant allows us to provide state-of-the-art equipment so rural students can learn and even meet clinical practice requirements through distance learning.  We appreciate the support of Senators Wyden and Merkley as well as all our rural hospital partners who are working hard to grow their own workforce.”

A web version of this release is here.