With one foot in its fields and another edged toward Silicon Valley, Salinas is trying to reboot itself as the agricultural technology center of California. It hopes to turn the sons and daughters of farmworkers, like Molina, into coders for the next generation of data-driven, automated farming in a valley known as the salad bowl of the world.
“We’re not trying to reinvent ourselves,” said Andrew Myrick, the city’s economic development manger. “There’s cities all across the country that are trying to attract Google to come and build their headquarters. That’s not who we are. We’re agriculture.”
No public high school in the Salinas valley taught computer science and only a sliver of Salinas’ workforce worked in computer science for a living when the ag-tech idea took hold here about four years ago. Capital One had just bought out the city’s largest private employer, HSBC, putting about 900 people out of work.
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