Model & Strategy

Digital NEST creates prosperity in the predominantly Latinx, historically working class and immigrant communities in rural California that have typically been left out—or locked out—of the 21st-century digital economy. Digital NEST helps create prosperity through three synergizing strategies: 1) Helping Latinx youth ages 14-24 become “career-ready” and “career-competitive” for tech-involved jobs, 2) Paying youth to provide web development and video production services to help local businesses grow, and 3) Connecting their career-competitive youth with local and regional employers to fill those employers’ critical workforce needs. Digital NEST knows that their kids deserve the very best to nurture their talents, wisdom, and passions so they built their own thriving center for technology and empowerment that prepares young people to prosper in the workforce. Digital NEST spins a web of connection and opportunity across the entire community.

Digital NEST logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2014
Founder & Executive Director: Jacob Martinez
Economic Empowerment
Location of work: Domestic
Digital NEST
1961 Main Street, #221
Watsonville, California 95076
High tech for young minds
Digital Nest in Watsonville and Salinas, December 6, 2017.
Jacob Martinez Digital NEST entrepreneur headshot
Meet Jacob Martinez

The idea for Digital NEST was formed one night when Jacob saw a young woman sitting outside a locked building working on her laptop. Curious about what she was doing sitting outside in the cold he approached her and asked. She told him she was a student at the college but 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 rural agricultural communities trying to complete schoolwork, apply for jobs, and access the social and networking opportunities enjoyed by their connected peers. The need was clear: our youths need a safe place; a place to learn the skills that prepare them for the 21st Century workforce. They need a place that connects them to free Internet and the latest technology. They need teachers, mentors, and professionals to connect them to opportunities. They need a community that values who they are and the potential they represent. And they need a place that will teach, nurture, and guide them to become the very best version of themselves. And so, Digital NEST was born.

Jacob is a Latino leader at the forefront of a critical issue: ending the disparities and confronting the biases that bar Latinx Californians in rural/agricultural communities from economic opportunity. He is pioneering a model that helps rural youths “upskill,” earn credentials, learn entrepreneurship and enter the technology workforce. He employs culturally competent strategies to connect newly-trained, middle-skill workers with employers, launching these workers into prosperous careers. His model is visionary, using on-the-job training to turn youth into leaders in community-driven economic development. An outspoken Latino leader, Mr. Martinez is calling out the biases and barriers perpetuating economic disparities in Latino communities and creating a regional collaboration to end them.  His work is being recognized both locally and nationally, including speaking at the first White House Tech Meetup in 2015, and was named by Tech Crunch as one of 2014’s Top 10 Men in the Country Supporting Women in Technology.

Impact

Since opening in 2014, Digital NEST’s youth enrollment has surpassed 2,500 members and in April 2017, Digital NEST opened a second location.

Over 70 youth have been placed in high-quality career track jobs or internships

85% of participants are Latino/a and 40% identify as female

  • A letter from our CEO, Jacob Martinez - https://t.co/TMyhMCSNkM
  • The last of 2022 is here, with plenty of time to give to the NEST! Make a meaningful gift today to support youth in… https://t.co/m96KOZWA5c
  • We hope this year’s holiday season fills you up with the things that mean most to you and energizes you for a happy… https://t.co/TlwfqzKVIr
  • “Digital NEST has impacted my career immensely. With their guidance, I built a solid resume, portfolio, and network… https://t.co/Nomh8EdBaU
  • “The best part is having actual projects that I've worked on from different clients to show off.”- Shakira, bizzNES… https://t.co/NDj4obt25H
  • We are thrilled to announce @Ciena awarded us a Digital Inclusion grant! The Ciena grant ensures that more NEST you… https://t.co/vUnu7bbjpy
  • “What brought me to the NEST was all the opportunities!”- Freddie, Digital NEST member. Hear from Freddie on what… https://t.co/1OsnH9IktD
  • Update: we are NINE new donors away from reaching our goal! Support the work of the NEST today as a first-time dono… https://t.co/d8tokxz0nF
  • We're so close!! Special thanks to all our new supporters, but we still need your help! Please help us reach our D… https://t.co/ag27VaUZDy
  • You can still make a greater impact! All donations from new NEST supporters will be matched with a $100 gift from o… https://t.co/s2XA1bCgjR
  • We are only 39 donations away from hitting our goal of reaching $10,000 in matching dollars from our generous Board… https://t.co/IZVFWPirmZ
  • RT @DonJHoward: We are privileged to support grantees as they leverage the abundant assets of the Central Coast to remake a more inclusive…
  • There's still time to make a more significant impact; make a 1st-time gift today & your donation will be matched wi… https://t.co/MAr6kmn6G3
  • You can still make a bigger impact! Support our young Latinx leaders looking to launch successful careers in tech t… https://t.co/RmbQaHgIeO
  • Our Board Member Tony was inspired by everyone who leveled up for our youth and decided to rechallenge us. Tony wil… https://t.co/KGAc8t2N3G
  • The work of @DigiNEST was highlighted alongside the @HomelessGrdnPrj and Santa Cruz Black in this week's edition of… https://t.co/KgFfpUYq5w