June 13, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE FUNDS TO IMPROVE WESTERN MARYLAND HEALTH CARE COMMUNITY

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a total of $310,240 for two projects that will fund important projects in Western Maryland. The grants will extend a local access road in Oakland, Md., that leads to the Garrett County Health Department and a future health care center, and upgrade equipment at Hagerstown Community College's Nursing and Allied Health Education and Training program.  
 
"This is a federal investment in Western Maryland communities today and tomorrow. This funding will help Garrett County residents reach necessary resources for their health and well-being, as well as help Hagerstown Community College educate our next generation of health care providers with the necessary resources," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to fight to keep Western Maryland a priority in the federal checkbook."
  
"The shortage of skilled health care workers and improved access to health care facilities are two significant health care issues that affect many Marylanders," said Senator Cardin. "These needs are especially acute in our rural communities, and that is why I am proud to support grants that will increase the number of skilled nurses graduating from Hagerstown Community College as well as fund the construction of a road into the planned health center in Oakland."
 
The Town of Oakland will use its $210,240 grant to construct and improve more than half a mile of Frazee Estates Drive - a two-lane, paved local access road - to the site of the county's health department and a future health center. This will encourage economic and social development in the area, with the potential for 25 new jobs at the new center. In addition to ARC funds, the Town of Oakland will provide $52,560 for the project, bringing the total funding for the development project to $262,800. 
 
Hagerstown Community College will use its $100,000 grant for new and upgraded equipment for its nursing and allied health education and training program. The Community College's 40-year-old Career Programs Building is currently undergoing a $21 million renovation that will result in a leading edge facility for the nursing program. The ARC funds are critical to helping the program reach its full potential and double the number of students who are enrolled in and complete it. For example, the new facility will be able to house 29 beds compared to the previous 11 beds, and this funding will help purchase extra beds. In addition to ARC funds, the college and local hospitals will provide $381,575, bringing the total project funding to $481,575.
 
The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.