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Kenzie Academy Celebrates Its 5-Year Anniversary

Kenzie Academy 5 year anniversary photo collage

In just 5 years, Kenzie Academy has witnessed life-changing moments that reflect the impact tech education has made in the lives of learners.

As we look back on 5 years of hard work and determination from our learners and the Kenzie Team, we are reminded that change continues to move us all forward. It propels Kenzie to a position where we can continue providing equitable access to education and career opportunities for those who want to shape a promising future. And those chasing a different career path can set and achieve new goals that transform their life. Change can mean uncertainty, but embracing it can also make a profound impact.

This year, we’ll commemorate 5 years of Kenzie and our learners making a difference at our very first homecoming where learners, alums, and staff will gather to share their favorite Kenzie moments and celebrate their accomplishments.

Kenzie Academy 5 year anniversary photo collage

2017 – The Story Begins

Chok Ooi founded Kenzie Academy in Indianapolis with a mission to help individuals from all backgrounds, who may feel overlooked, build brighter futures. As an immigrant from Malaysia, Chok came to the United States for greater opportunities and education. He then discovered his calling to give back to individuals who felt a better life was far out of reach. Through Kenzie, he wanted to topple systemic barriers and create a supportive diverse learning environment. The vision was for Kenzie to provide attainable paths toward meaningful careers and for learners to realize their potential in tech.

2018 – First Cohorts and the Start of Online Learning

Kenzie’s first software engineering cohort launched in early 2018, followed by the introduction of its UX design and digital marketing programs. This was also the first year Kenzie offered online courses, welcoming its first online learner! It was an important step toward providing individuals with the accessibility and flexibility they may need to balance their education with work and other life responsibilities.

2019 – First Graduates and Other Historic Milestones

In January 2019, the first set of Kenzie learners took on roles at DMI, an Indianapolis tech consulting firm. Just two days later, Kenzie made history by celebrating its first graduating class of software engineers! In April, Kenzie took a major step toward providing wider access to tech education — this time by introducing its first completely online cohort. In July, Kenzie partnered with Amazon to offer Career Choice, an online training program that helps Amazon employees upskill and build careers in tech. By October and with the support of Rethink Education, Kenzie closed its first round of series A funding — the initial round of venture capital financing.

2020 – Kenzie Transitions to 100% Online Learning

COVID-19 changed our lives on a global scale and things were no different for Kenzie Academy. In 2020, Kenzie transitioned to 100% online learning to help learners progress despite the nation’s lockdown and to offer virtual courses during a period when many were exploring a different career path. This move eventually evolved into a highly beneficial feature by providing learners schedule flexibility, access to courses wherever they may be, and the opportunity to build a community with people from across the nation.

2021 – Kenzie Academy from Southern New Hampshire University

In March 2021, Southern New Hampshire University acquired Kenzie Academy programs to help amplify access to alternative credentials, expand the pipeline of tech talent, and provide support from a private, nonprofit, and accredited institution. The acquisition also gave learners the opportunity to transfer completed program credits toward an SNHU degree and made federal student aid available.

SNHU President and CEO Paul LeBlanc described the decision by saying “SNHU and Kenzie are a natural fit because we share a mission to help bring higher education to learners who have often been left behind by traditional higher education.”

Later that year, Amazon Technical Academy partnered with Kenzie to co-develop the software engineering curriculum. This program is designed to upskill individuals and prepare them for Software Developer Engineer positions at Amazon as well as software engineering roles outside of Amazon.

2022 – Cybersecurity Program Kicks Off

2022 marked the start of the Certificate in Cybersecurity program! Kenzie partnered with the International Council of E-commerce Consultants (EC-Council) to offer EC-Council’s renowned cybersecurity curriculum and meet the demand for professionals to combat the threat to information security.

This program addresses the industry’s need to place cybersecurity at the forefront of employers’ technology initiatives by training cybersecurity professionals who can protect computer and networking systems, detect security threats, and defend against cyberattacks. The approach provides a pathway to a tech field where graduates can hold a respected position, be innovative, and earn a competitive salary. Learners also prepare to take exams to earn additional certifications through EC-Council, if they desire.

The Future

With graduates in over 40 states who now work at companies like Meta, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wunderkind, and Infosys, Kenzie Academy continues to help learners build a foundation for a bright future in tech so they can change their lives.

Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook to watch Kenzie Academy and our learners continue to progress!

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