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California's Best TBED Programs Identified

May 03, 2002

With a large land mass and a population surpassing the 21 least populated states and the District of Columbia combined, California has scores of public programs and nonprofit organizations dedicated to encouraging technology-based economic development on the state, regional, local and sub-local levels. Best practices in the field, then, could have applications in a number of other states and communities.

Last week, Governor Gray Davis announced the 12 winners of the 2002 Governor's Technology & Innovation Awards, which honor non-profit organizations, public-private partnerships, educational institutions, individuals, and philanthropic programs that help foster California's tech-based economy in exemplary and innovative ways. The program is administered by the Division of Science, Technology and Innovation of the California's Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency.

Award winners — which include a business incubator, a high school principal, a workforce training program, community tech-access programs, a public-private science education collaborative, a trade organization, and a science learning center — will be featured in a "Governor's Technology & Innovation Compendium of Best Practices." Recipients include:

  • BIOCOM/san diego - San Diego: Founded in 1995 and representing more than 350 biotechnology and medical device companies, BIOCOM/san diego has proactively addressed significant business and legislative issues, educated the general public, and developed programs to help life science companies operate efficiently and economically. BIOCOM/san diego's Scholarship and Education Fund supports science education in high schools, community colleges, and universities.
  • Business Technology Center, L.A. County Community Development Commission - Monterey Park: Thought to be the only high-tech incubator in the nation operated by a county agency, BTC assists start-up, early-stage and spin-off technology companies grow and prosper through commercialization of federal lab technologies. Though informally partnered with CalTech and Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, BTC is located in a redevelopment project area with 48 percent low- or moderate-income households. BTC also hosts a Small Business Development Center.
  • Computers for Families - Santa Barbara: CFF is a community-based initiative to decrease the Digital Divide through increased home access to technology. It overcomes a major barrier to student achievement by providing home access to computers, including Internet access and training, for students whose families cannot afford to purchase them. CFF reaches children enrolled in the four major school districts in southern Santa Barbara County. Each district has 50 percent to 73 percent minority enrollment, with Hispanic students comprising 95 percent of total minority enrollment. Between 1997 and 2003, CFF will provide 4,000 underserved families with computers.
  • National City Adult School's Parent Computer Literacy Program - San Diego: Through partnerships with National City and the San Diego Futures Foundation, a non-profit organization established to help bridge San Diego County's Digital Divide, the National City Adult School has implemented a program that provides computer literacy training and a free, refurbished computer to parents of children in area schools. Parents attend adult education classes two evenings a week for 18 weeks to earn their computer.
  • Pangea Foundation - San Diego: Pangea Foundation's Abilities Networks is a comprehensive program to research, design, and implement information technologies that ensure people with disabilities can fully participate in the digital economy. The project creates a series of online information management tools and assistive technology applications that enhance Internet capabilities for people with disabilities. Abilities Networks provides a framework for community organizations, government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and other public and private entities to meet important goals of developing universally designed Internet applications and services.