As terrorist and natural incidents continue to threaten the safety and quality of life of Americans and as federal funding to combat these activities have become more risk oriented, Congress, in 2004 authorized the development of a Rural Domestic Preparedness Training Center to develop and deliver all-hazards preparedness training to rural communities across the Nation. Eastern Kentucky University was awarded a competitive grant offered by the Department of Homeland Security to establish this training center. In 2005, legislation authorized the creation of a Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium to be developed among a group of academic institutions. Again, after a competitive bid, EKU was awarded a grant to establish this Consortium and leveraged the development of the Training Center as one working arm of the Consortium.
Throughout 2005, the newly created RDPC, managed by EKU as the executive agent, identified four additional universities to become charter academic partners in the Consortium based upon their unique niche capabilities in developing and delivering homeland security preparedness training to rural communities. These academic partners include NorthWest Arkansas Community College, The University of Findlay, North Carolina Central University, and University of California-Davis.
As of 2013, the Consortium and its academic partners are led by The Center for Rural Development.
The Center for Rural Development (The Center) in Somerset, KY is the Executive Agent for the RDPC. As Executive Agent, The Center provides grant administration and general oversight of the consortium. Additionally, The Center is responsible for marketing, website hosting and administration, delivery coordination, data collection and reporting, and additional technologies including a large network of interactive television (ITV), videoconferencing, and learning management systems necessary to manage large student populations and deliver courses to rural responders across the nation.
All training delivered by the RDPC is certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is offered tuition-free for a broad scope of stakeholders, including the traditional emergency response disciplines, other emergency support functions as defined by the National Response Plan, as well as critical infrastructure owners and operators.