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CSUMB staff member named Broadband Champion

Arlene Krebs acts to close the digital divide

Arlene Krebs, technology development officer at CSU Monterey Bay, has been named a 2014 Broadband Champion by the California Emerging Technology Fund.

Krebs, founding director of the Wireless Education and Technology Center (WeTEC) at CSUMB, is one of 15 people recognized for their groundbreaking work and strong commitment to close the digital divide.

The award winners were selected in consultation with dozens of broadband leaders, community advocates and state and local policymakers. The 15 individuals will be recognized at events in San Francisco and Pasadena.

“We congratulate Arlene and all of the Broadband Champions. From Monterey to Hollywood, from El Centro to Humboldt, they are representatives of trailblazers who work throughout California and beyond to point the way for policymakers to understand the opportunities afforded by information technology and high-speed Internet access,” CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak said.

“The Champions also share the moral imperative not to leave anyone behind or offline. Each of these individuals inspires us to act to close the digital divide,” she said.

When people want to find out what’s happening in broadband in Monterey County, they call Krebs. In the past decade, she helped formalize the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, founded the Wireless Education and Technology Center at CSU Monterey Bay, and organized educational seminars to drive digital inclusion in the region.

Krebs participated in a statewide Broadband Task Force to determine infrastructure and digital literacy priorities and, working with Congressman Sam Farr, secured federal funds for a computing center in the Chinatown area of Salinas

She also has worked to build career paths for local residents. As vice-chair of Loaves, Fishes & Computers, she developed a program to train people how to refurbish computers. That has led some participants to start a small micro-enterprise refurbishing business. Her commitment to use of broadband has had far-reaching influence on the Central Coast. On March 27, Krebs attended the awards ceremony in San Francisco. She returned via Salinas, where she gave a presentation to 35 adults in a digital literacy class at Cesar Chavez Library, explaining how to subscribe to low-cost Internet service and how to get a free or low-cost refurbished computer.

"It struck me that these are the parents of our next generation of CSUMB students, that by helping them connect to their children's schools, and by having a computer at home for their children to use for schoolwork is among the best preparations we can offer our underserved community," she said.