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Khalilah Webster is a tech education entrepreneur in the New York City area, where she helps promote and sell educational workshops designed to bring under-served public school students into the future.

As CEO, co-founder and executive director of the Open Door Arts-in-Education Project (ODAEP), Webster provides a programming model that teams up technology, entrepreneurship, arts, and mentoring.

About 6,000 adolescents and young adults — many in the inner city — are enrolled in ODAEP’s enrichment workshops at up to 50 public schools, Webster told Moguldom.com on the sidelines at the Black Enterprise TechConnext Summit in San Francisco.

The Open Door Arts-in-Education Project fosters innovation and achievement. Workshops include entrepreneurship education, technical skills building, financial literacy, leadership development and exposure to the arts. The goal is to inspire and equip students to make full use of their creative ingenuity towards life-long success.

One of the tech workshops features virtual reality in partnership with Microsoft. Through the program, students are able to code.

“Theyre building an environment that’s virtual. That’s something that’s different. thats something that’s new,” Webster said.

Webster’s job is to implement the programs and bring teaching artists into schools who can share their knowledge of industry in the classroom. Webster structures the curriculum, lesson plans, and ensures they’re aligned with the common core of NYC public schools.

Open Door Arts’ target market is young people in areas that don’t benefit and get the resources they need to enhance educational quality, Webster said:

“We’re in the inner city community. NYC is very diverse. We talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. It’s really important for the young people to have access to tech and information.”

Workshop instructors for Open Door Arts-in-Education Project spend two-to-four hours a week with the students.

“We need to be forward thinking when it comes to what the next steps are for our young people,” Webster told Moguldom. “We need to step into the future. Our teachers take the kids out of their classroom into another classroom and they work on their enrichment program.”

Webster said she draws energy and inspiration from her background in the performing arts, media, and journalism. She grew up in an inner city community in Brooklyn and said she wanted to have a better outlook on life. “My pure inspiration is looking at young people and giving them a hand,” she said.

The Open Door Arts-in-Education Project has small investors — “nothing really big,” Webster said. But it may have something better: “A great contract with the Department of Education — its sort of better than an investor.”

However the company is creating a new product for schools “and we’re definitely going to need investors,” Webster said.

She attended the Black Enterprise Tech ConneXt Summit to connect with like-minded people.

In 2002, Webster co-founded Talent of Purpose, Inc, a 501(c)3 performing arts organization repertory company. There, she honed her skills as a CEO and guerrilla marketer.

 

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