Digital NEST is nearing the opening of its youth workforce development center in Gilroy, and is planning a number of workshops and social events soon to inspire young people to pursue careers in technology.
Jason Franks, Senior Site Manager of Digital NEST for Gilroy, said the organization is eager to bring its programs to the South County community after announcing plans to expand here more than a year ago. year.
The goal is to find a centrally located location, such as near a school or downtown, Franks said. The organization, which has transformed historic buildings for its two other locations in Watsonville and Salinas, aims to have facilities that represent tech campuses, with open coworking spaces and easy access to food and other amenities. amenities.
“We really want to have the right space,” he said. “We believe students deserve a beautiful, clean, open space that they feel is theirs.”
Founded in 2014 in Watsonville by Jacob Martinez, Digital NEST provides youth in rural communities with technology skills and hands-on experience, with the goal of preparing them for well-paying tech jobs.
Gilroy’s proximity to Silicon Valley industry makes it a prime location to mentor young talent, Franks said.
“There’s a lot of excitement for Digital NEST in Gilroy, being geographically so close to Silicon Valley,” he said. “Our main goal is to mentor young people from these rural communities that surround Silicon Valley for jobs in technology fields.”
Since opening in Watsonville, NEST has provided more than 2,200 young people with access to free technology and professional skills training in areas such as web development, project management and digital arts. According to statistics from Digital NEST, alumni earn an average starting salary of $45,760 and more than 100 alumni have been placed in jobs, internships and/or college education.
Its paid internship program, bizzNEST, gives young people the opportunity to provide web design, video and other digital services to various businesses. The organization is also hosting NEST Flight May 4-5, a youth conference with speakers, workshops, panel discussions and more.
Franks, a resident of Gilroy for 43 years, joined the organization in September.
“I can’t wait to see something like this in town,” he said. “When I was growing up, we had an ice rink, two movie theatres… right now it’s hard for young people to get out of the house and socialize.
Starting this week, Digital NEST will hold its first Gilroy events at CMAP, located at Greenhouse Coworking at 7500 Monterey St.
On March 25 and every other Friday until May 20, the NEST will host Friday Night Gaming. The free event, aimed at ages 14-18, will feature a variety of classic arcade fighting games such as “Street Fighter” and “Mortal Kombat.” Casual play runs from 6-7pm, with a tournament-style event from 7-8pm that includes prizes.
Starting April 1 and taking place every other Friday from 6-8 p.m. until June 3 at CMAP, Digital NEST will be offering free music production classes. The lessons, also aimed at 14-18 year olds, will teach youngsters the basics of digital music production, including drum programming, sequencing, special effects, mixing and more, with each student having their own song to play. the end of the series.
To register for events and classes, or for information about Digital NEST programming, email [email protected] or visit digitalnest.org.