Northwest Arkansas Council partners with online tech training company

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,394 views 

Springdale-based economic development organization Northwest Arkansas Council and Indiana-based Kenzie Academy, a tech apprenticeship and coding school, are partnering to introduce Kenzie’s accelerated, online tech training programs to Arkansas.

The program is designed to respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and get impacted individuals back to work, according to a news release. An undisclosed grant from the Walton Family Foundation and investment from the Northwest Arkansas Council supports the initial startup costs of the program coming to the market.

Kenzie began in 2017 as a two-year venture-funded technology and apprenticeship program focused on software engineering skills. The Northwest Arkansas Council partnership will provide online IT workforce training in software engineering, UX engineering and UX design.

“Kenzie will leverage its online model to deliver high-quality technology training to learners from the safety of their homes and model a local-centric, but scalable, upskilling solution that fuels Arkansas’ tech ecosystem,” the release said.

Eligible participants will have access to laptop computers and a wi-fi access program to participate in Kenzie’s training.

“This is a first of its kind partnership for Kenzie,” Kenzie Academy CEO and co-founder Chok Ooi said in a statement. “We believe high-quality education should be available to the best and brightest, regardless of where they live, or what their financial circumstances are. We are thrilled to expand Kenzie’s accessible and inclusive tech training offerings to Arkansas and rapidly respond to the state’s efforts to get people back to work.”

Northwest Arkansas Council CEO Nelson Peacock said the partnership will create valuable workforce training opportunities and provide a talent pipeline for Northwest Arkansas companies — a critical component for the region’s economic growth.

Interested participants may apply at this link. The training program ranges from six to nine months depending upon full-time or part-time. Tuition is $10,900 for a part-time program and $20,000 for a full-time program.

Tuition is paid by the participants. A Kenzie Academy representative said the programs offer flexible payment methods, including upfront, payment plan, private loan or an income share agreement (ISA). In the ISA, participants pay a small fee when enrolling and then nothing until they secure a job upon program graduation. Upon graduating, participants pay a small percent of their salary until the tuition is paid in full.