Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Community Invited to Digital NEST Grand Opening on Feb 11


February 5, 2016 — Watsonville, CA

What: Digital NEST Grand Opening, Community Open House, & Ribbon Cutting

When: Thursday, February 11, 2016, 4-7 pm (Ribbon Cutting at 5:30 pm)

Where: 318 Union Street, Building B, Watsonville CA 95076


  • Tour of the state of the art Digital NEST Technology Center
  • Meet Laurel Jones, President of Cabrillo College
  • Meet the Board of Directors, staff and youth
  • See some of the projects from our members in year 1
  • Sign-ups for youth


The Digital NEST, a nonprofit located on California’s Central Coast that provides technology education to youth in underserved communities, is grand opening its new technology campus adjacent to Cabrillo College in downtown Watsonville Thursday, February 11.

The Digital NEST gives underserved youth the opportunity to improve their lives. The NEST is dedicated to developing a new and diverse technology workforce by providing the tools and experiences that expose youth to a career path into tech or a STEM field.

“The NEST replicates the physical environment of a well funded Silicon Valley technology company, creating an environment that inspires youth to excel,” says Founder and Executive Director Jacob Martinez.

The new center will consist of a co-working space for high school students, a co-working space for 18-24 year olds, recording studio, fabrication room, three conference rooms, and full classroom. Members will have access to high speed internet, hardware donated by Facebook, software including donations from Adobe and, free food just like tech companies donated by Newman’s Own Organics, Driscolls and others, and educational workshops including talks from Netflix, Google and LinkedIn employees.

“It’s an exciting time as the Digital NEST membership has expanded to serve more than 450 area youth in one years time,” says Martinez. “This new, larger facility is centrally located downtown, making it even more accessible.”

“The NEST is leading the way with their progressive model, which is positioned to make a significant impact by helping to create opportunities for youth and young adults in low income communities and develop a more diverse Tech work force in the very near future,” echoes Laura Gomez, CEO of Atipica, tech entrepreneur and Digital NEST Board Member. “I’m proud to support their efforts and, frankly, not enough people know about this amazing program.”

The idea for Digital NEST began one night when Jacob Martinez saw one of his former middle- school computer programming students sitting outside a locked building of Cabrillo Community College, working on her laptop. She was now a student at the college, she told Jacob, but she still had no access to the Internet at home.

“I come here for Wi-Fi so I can complete my homework assignments,” she explained. It was all too common to see young people huddling outside locked buildings in Watsonville trying to complete schoolwork, apply for jobs and access the social and networking opportunities enjoyed by their connected peers.

The Digital NEST is an innovative model for increasing prosperity in rural communities with vulnerable populations by teaching technology skills and entrepreneurship to youth and young adults. Digital NEST works at the fertile intersection of positive youth development, workforce readiness, high technology and local economic development. The centerpiece of the program is Digital NEST itself, an open-learning, technology-rich, drop-in learning center that takes its members seriously as technologists, creative talent and entrepreneurs.

Martinez founded Digital NEST to overcome economic disparities found in low income communities by providing free, reliable access to computers and wireless internet for youth and young adults, along with a full array of programs, training and mentoring in workforce soft skills, computer programming, digital multimedia, entrepreneurial skills, and much more. The workspace is a bustling, activity-rich alternative to the often-idle hours after school, designed specifically to honor youth; to affirm their right to a beautiful and creative space just for them; a place of safety and encouragement where no dream is too big and no interest too small. Digital NEST gives youth and young adults a safe and productive place to learn, to collaborate, to be inspired, and to reinvent their futures.


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