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California Department of Finance Director Michael Cohen Recipient of CENIC’s 2015 Innovations In Networking Award

· K-12
Tags: policyk12digital divideaward

California's Department of Finance Director Michael Cohen is being honored by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) as a recipient of the 2015 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. 

Director Cohen is being recognized by CENIC for his efforts to improve broadband access for millions of Californians at their schools, libraries, colleges, and universities. His leadership at the state level has been instrumental in advancing these efforts.

Through his work at the Department of Finance, Director Cohen helped to shepherd the Governor’s high-speed broadband initiative for public libraries, the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants (BIIG) program for K-12, and additional information technology upgrades for community colleges through last year’s budget, as well as other efforts.  The Governor’s high-speed broadband initiative for public libraries will provide libraries with the 21st century connectivity they need to close the digital divide in their communities by connecting them to CENIC’s California Research & Education Network (CalREN).  The BIIG program will enhance broadband infrastructure for K-12 school sites with the most severe infrastructure deficits.  Classroom activities increasingly depend on bandwidth-hungry applications like online assessments, rich media, and participation in remote events, making broadband access a vital necessity for education, and one which will become even more vital as the pace of innovation continues.  Without the access that the BIIG program will provide, California risks losing its global leadership position as many of its students, faculty, and staff at schools with severe deficits risk being unable to participate in that innovation.

“High-speed broadband is a great social equalizer – talent is everywhere and democratic; opportunity isn’t.  Bringing broadband environments to all of our schools, libraries, colleges, and universities allows that talent to flourish,” stated Louis Fox, President and CEO of CENIC. “Director Cohen’s understanding of the importance of high-speed broadband has been essential to ensuring that California’s educational system remains at the forefront of enhancing teaching and learning through the use of technology.”

In September 2013, Michael Cohen was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown as the Director of the Department of Finance, where he had been serving as the Chief Deputy Director of Budget.  Prior to his role at the Department of Finance, Director Cohen served in a variety of roles with the Legislative Analyst's Office from 1997 to 2010, including deputy legislative analyst, director of state administration and local government finance analyst. 

Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year by CENIC to highlight the exemplary innovations that leverage ultra high-bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to revolutionize the ways in which instruction and research are conducted or where they further the deployment in underserved areas.