Kenzie News

Change, Growth and the Future of Kenzie Academy

Dear Kenzie Family,

In many ways, Kenzie Academy may be a lot like you — our humble beginnings began with a dream. And like our learners who work hard, take risks, and persevere with relentless determination, Kenzie turned its dream into a reality, where all who want a future in tech have equal access to the opportunity to do so.

On any path we take though, whether it’s building a startup, creating a career trajectory, or moving through life’s journey, we encounter change. It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing change or responding to it, deviating from the current course is at times scary but it leads to growth and possibility. For Kenzie’s story, we’re turning a page into a new chapter. As the new interim executive director at Kenzie Academy, I would like to take this opportunity to share more about Kenzie’s beginnings and newest chapter with you.

A Living Legacy

Kenzie was founded upon the experience of someone who wasn’t born into privilege, and yet he broke down barriers to create something amazing not only for himself, but for others who share the same background. Chok Ooi founded Kenzie Academy in 2017. He built the tech school startup with an entrepreneurial spirit and purpose to develop future tech professionals and innovators who can meet the increasing demands of employers, while changing their lives with a rewarding high-paying job they love.

Chok arrived in America as an immigrant from Malaysia armed with two suitcases and a pocket full of dreams. Without an education, no employer would hire him. Chok earned a degree in computer science and realized an education opened doors for him. From working on Wall Street to multiple startups, Chok never gave up and took a chance on a new dream — creating tech education and career pathways for those who don’t have the opportunity to shape a better future for themselves. This vision continues to live in everything Kenzie does today and for tomorrow. Giving back gives others a chance to change where they are and the ability to reach their own dreams.

We Change, But Our Vision Stays the Same

In early 2021, Southern New Hampshire University acquired Kenzie Academy, which provided Kenzie with a safe, stable home from where it can grow with proper support, resources, and guidance. Knowing Kenzie is in good hands and with the right team in place, Chok has decidedly moved on to pursue other ways to make a difference in the world.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with Chok and step into his shoes during this time of transition. It’s been an incredible journey working in the higher education and tech ed environment — helping to transform how schools design and deliver education to meet diverse learner needs. It’s these past experiences and my role at the head of Kenzie’s academics and product development that have prepared me to take on this new position of leadership and influence.

What’s Next?

Kenzie is continuing its commitment to providing solutions to problems that higher education and workforce development face. These solutions include developing short-term programs designed to equip learners with the certificate, relevant skills training, and real-world readiness to directly access tech jobs for the long-term. We’re dismantling what earning an education and joining the workforce has traditionally looked like. There’s no one-size-fits-all, and we’re tailoring the learning experience for every learner, from day one of class to day one on the job.

I also speak on behalf of the Kenzie Team when I say we’re so excited for where Kenzie is heading. This is your Kenzie experience, and it’s our job to meet you wherever you are in your journey and to get to know you, to personally support you, and to help you become employable for where you want to go. It’s about more than the curriculum, it’s about opening doors of opportunities to work at large tech companies and exciting startups through connections to partnerships (like ours with Amazon) that will only continue to grow.

So, what’s next for you?

Is it the decision to join Kenzie and choose the right program for you? Maybe you’re close to graduation and are gearing up for the job search. Or it might be tackling a challenging assignment in your class. No matter what your next step is, keep moving forward, know you can do it, and remember you’re not alone. Young Kenzie was ambitious with so many ideas. Now a more mature Kenzie faced its fears and shaped itself into a force for good — and there’s still so much more to discover and accomplish. Your story may be similar, so we encourage you to never forget your why. You are capable and you have what it takes to achieve your goals and create something amazing.

Lastly, I, along with the Kenzie team, are here for you whenever you need additional information and answers to questions. Our doors are always open to the Kenzie community.

Wishing you much success in your endeavors,

Jen Scott
Interim Executive Director
Kenzie Academy

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