CPUC’s Simon Receives NIU’s ‘El Promotor Award’

By EGP Staff Report

California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Simon was awarded the “El Promotor Award” during the 2012 One Million NIU (New Internet Users) Awards Luncheon held late last month.

The El Promotor Award is given to a person who helps further One Million NIU’s message and helps promotes the work the organization does in the community. They must also have a high level of influence and credibility in the field of technology and broadband Internet, according to NIU.

Simon was selected for the award because he “100 percent” supports NIU’s initiative to use technology and the Internet “to help more children graduate from college, while simultaneously getting more folks to use broadband technology,” One Million NIU Coalition Executive Director Larry Ortega told EGP in a written statement.

“Ultimately this meant the businesses that he has sphere of influence over, would benefit with more Internet users, a classic win-win scenario that he understood early-on as we began to launch NIU,” Ortega said.

While accepting the award, Simon called Ortega an “American treasure,” referring to the work NIU does to empower people in low-income communities.

The East Los Angeles-based One Million NIU program is part of a statewide coalition aimed at training parents and other adults in underserved communities how to use computers and other technologies to access information and resources as a way to improve their work, school and life skills.

Simon said he hopes the future for people in these communities will improve as they gain greater access to the Internet, and he is committed to continue to support NIU’s goal of achieving one million new Internet users.

Demonstrating the power of the Internet, Simon explained that he witnessed tele-medicine for the first time while in Japan — a surgeon in one room performed surgery on a patient in another room — and said he believes broadband Internet has transformative potential uses that can also be used here at home, not the least of which is creating new opportunities for people who previously had little access to resources.

“It is very important that we make it clear to our young people that they are not only the future, but the future will be a great future for them,” Simon said of the importance of teaching children and their families how to use technology to access information and resources through the Web.

According to Simon, computer literacy and internet access are important to self-esteem and confidence when striving to achieve: “That is what progress is about and that is what America is about,” he said, but added that America won’t continue to be that kind of country unless there is continued investment in underserved communities.

High-speed broadband can bring the best educators into our prisons and really rehabilitate male and female inmates, the CPUC commissioner said.
“So when they re-enter into society they not only have the technical skills but also the soft skills that are necessary to remain competitive in a global economy.”

He praised NIU’ Ortega for “the impact” he has had on families and for helping to bring about policy changes that will help ensure “broadband is accessible to all communities, in particular those communities we define as underserved or hard to reach.”

According to Simon, the work is even going to have “benefits for children not yet born.”

Other One Million NIU 2012 Awardees: AT&T President Ken McNeely received the Valentía Award; State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and his wife Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Statewide Office Manager Mae Torlakson, received the Power Couple Award; Pan American Bank President Jessie Torres received the El Padrino Award and State Assemblyman Steven Bradford (51st District) received the El Pionero Award.

One Million NIU is part of a coalition that receives some funding from the California Public Utilities Commission to carry out their work.
For more information on One Million NIU, visit onemillionniu.org

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July 12, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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