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WIN Innovator Kool Nerd Connect Helps Put Kids on Career Track

Kool Nerd Connect (KNC)—a newly launched workforce education company aimed at increasing diverse students’ awareness of high-demand careers—recently completed a successful test of its software with the YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester.

KNC provides industry and career awareness courses for teens, often conducted live online through charter and public schools, with opportunities to interact with relatable professionals to better understand their roles and career paths.

To help KNC test its course content and gather feedback from students, the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN) paired the company with the YMCA, a stalwart in youth development and support. Middle and high school students participated in four KNC classes, exploring careers in healthcare. The live courses conducted online included animated videos about jobs, salaries and career paths, along with informal Q&A discussions with a professional working in the topic field.

“We are grateful for the YMCA’s valuable input on our coursework,” said KNC CEO Orane Barrett. “Their real-world feedback helped us improve our approach to increasing students’ awareness and inspiring them to pursue rewarding careers.”

KNC will leverage the feedback to build content for partnerships with healthcare employers, empowering them to cultivate new talent and meet hiring needs.

“Many kids, especially those who are the first in their family to pursue a college education, are unaware of career opportunities. Kool Nerd Connect can open doors for kids, increasing their awareness of possibilities and introducing them to rewarding futures,” said Cynthia Delfino, President and CEO of YMCA.

WIN is a Business Council of Westchester initiative designed to connect innovative products and services with existing organizations to guide and support their development.

“We recognize our members’ need for talent pipelines, so we are pleased that this match between Kool Nerd Connect and the YMCA has inspired young people to pursue high-demand careers. The Westchester Innovation Network continues to deliver results for our matches and members,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, the BCW’s president and CEO.

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