Today, the U.S. Department of Education launched the Rural Tech Project, a $600,000 challenge to advance rural technology education and prepare students for the careers of today and tomorrow. The Department invites high schools and local educational agencies to propose technology education programs that use competency-based distance learning.

Ask your questions at the virtual information session

Join our information session on July 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET to hear from U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump and Program Specialist Albert Palacios. They will discuss the growing opportunities for the technology workforce and the advanced skills students will need for rewarding careers. They will explore how distance learning and competency-based education can help rural communities create new learning opportunities and how the challenge will support educators in using these flexible models. The challenge team will also give an in-depth overview of the challenge and answer questions during a live Q&A. 

Register today. Attendees are encouraged to come with their questions or submit them in advance to

Start developing your program proposal

Rural high schools and local educational agencies interested in entering the challenge should submit a proposal for a competency-based distance learning program by October 8. The online submission form asks for a program overview, including the delivery model, curriculum topics, and intended collaboration with local employers and other partners. 

The Rural Tech Project has curated resources to help entrants develop comprehensive program proposals. The resources provide support around topics ranging from program design and delivery to engaging community stakeholders.

Plan ahead for Phase 2

Up to five finalists will each receive an equal share of the $500,000 Phase 1 cash prize pool and progress to Phase 2, a two-year implementation period. They will have on-the-ground assistance, expert mentorship, and access to virtual resources as they plan, run, refine, and report on their programs. One grand-prize winner will receive an additional $100,000. Learn more about community implementation during Phase 2.

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See lessons learned and resources from the Rural Tech Project teams.

See lessons learned and resources from the Rural Tech Project teams.