Creating digital and creative spaces for underserved communities is the subject of this week’s PolicyWise (Episode 25) as hosts Ellinor Arzbaecher and Demetria Wack welcome Digital NEST Founder and Executive Director Jacob Martinez.
The idea for Digital NEST came to Martinez when saw a community college student working on her computer outside a building because she needed free Wi-Fi to work on a research paper. This happened in Watsonville, less than an hour from Silicon Valley. “Campuses like Google and Facebook and Apple — these amazing environments exist right over the hill,” he explained. “But here in Watsonville, in our community, this person can’t get internet?”
Founded in 2014, Digital NEST provides space, community and training for underrepresented youth in web design/coding, digital arts and project management/marketing and communications. There are currently two campuses (Watsonville and Salinas) with plans for more campuses throughout the region.
“There are millions of brilliant young people,” added Martinez. “How do we give them the opportunity and open the doors for them, bust down the doors for them.”