Merging Silicon Valley innovation with proven programs in youth development, Digital NEST brings growth and stability to struggling communities by giving youth ages 12-24 the tools and training for futures in tech. Founded in the agricultural community of Watsonville, California, Digital NEST gives low-income youth much more than a place to use free computers and Wi-Fi after school. The NEST fuels life changes,connecting Members with the newest technologies and through training and mentoring, unlocking opportunities they never knew existed.
As Members pursue their paths to success, they stimulate economic growth in their communities by providing affordable tech services to their hometown businesses.
Open only to members, Digital NEST is staffed by culturally aware and bilingual professional staff who serve as mentors and educators.
The first step in transforming youth in rural and low-income communities into tomorrow’s tech workforce is to give them an alternative to the streets. Currently the supply of safe and appropriate public space for youth in Watsonville is limited. Computers at schools are limited to intervention programs and a select number of elective technology courses. Although there are several city-run youth centers and a library, all are constrained by limited operating hours and minimal programming. The situation at home is no better: young people in the community who do have a home computer often have to share it with several family members, don’t have internet access, or have outdated hardware and software. The NEST is a safe, inspiring place where youth find encouraging adults, nutritious food, and tools to discover new interests and abilities.
Free, Equal Access
Digital NEST is overcoming these disparities by providing free, reliable access to computers and wireless 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.
Education and Career Development
Through a combination of program collaborations, in-house curriculum, meetups, mentorships, and volunteer opportunities, Digital NEST strives to be the hub for learning and connections that enriches the learning process for any youth interested in a wide variety of fields.
Our more robust training programs are Digital Arts and Technology (DAT) and Web and Information Technology (WIT).
Growing economic prosperity
A unique element of Digital NEST is its focus on job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship. Digital NEST is designed to spur economic development in our community by being a resource for local businesses and a pathway to internships and jobs for members. Local and regional businesses in need of technology support may hire a qualified Digital NEST member for a project at a competitive fee. The member will receive half of the fee, with half supporting Digital NEST.
Digital NEST in Watsonville has the potential to expand to other vulnerable communities, stimulating economic prosperity by teaching technology skills and entrepreneurship to young adults, working at the intersection of youth development, workforce readiness, technology, and economic development. Digital NEST is now building a highly skilled workforce in a community where a workforce has been difficult for local industry to find. Digital NEST is a new resource, working with local industry to fill internships, temporary jobs and permanent positions. Placing local youth and young adults into positions that once were filled by people from outside the community keeps jobs local. It provides youth with alternatives to the minimum wage jobs they’ve been limited to due to lack of training. Providing youth and young adults with a pathway to higher-paying jobs can have a life-changing impact on the member’s family and community.