Living just a skip (albeit a perilous one) from Silicon Valley, tech growth has been a natural fit for Santa Cruz County. But as tech here has increasingly tried to assert its independence the gap between available academic resources and technology know-how has become more obvious.
Last year, Tony Hill Award-winner Jacob Martinez founded Digital NEST (Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology) in Watsonville, in the hopes of closing that gap. The NEST creates technology centers in vulnerable communities all over California—including in Watsonville, where the impact has been almost instantaneous. It gives young people (ages 12-24) from Santa Cruz and Monterey counties access to computers, software, and classes in digital filmmaking, networking, music recording, graphic and web design.
The tech world is a competitive one, so hats off to Martinez for fighting to bring the necessary resources and inspiration to communities that need them most.