Code Ninjas, a learning space for children and adolescents to acquire coding skills, is opening a second facility in northeast Johnson County.
Jason Hansen, owner and operator of the Code Ninjas facility in Leawood, said he plans to open the new learning center in Lenexa by Monday, Jan. 7, with a grand opening set for Jan. 21.
Located at 12825 W 87th Street Parkway near Black Dog Coffeehouse, the new space is ideal for its proximity to I-35 as well as neighboring schools in the Shawnee Mission School District, Hansen said. Additionally, demographics data in the region indicate that about 10,000 children ages 7 to 14 live within three miles of the new space, he added.
“Coding does several things for kids,” Hansen said. “It teaches them logic. It teaches them problem-solving skills. And it gives them a sense of confidence.”
Hansen, a Lenexa resident himself, said he thinks his city is a “thriving community” and positive learning environment for children and adolescents to pick up coding skills. He hopes to fill any gaps in local children’s education by providing tools that he didn’t have when he was their age.
“When I was a kid, I had a big interest in learning computers; there really wasn’t anything for me other than on my own,” he said. “So, when I saw this opportunity to bring this type of program to Kansas City, I was really excited about it.”
For families wanting a sneak peek at the space before it opens, they can visit the Leawood learning facility at 3622 W. 135th St. Hansen said the Lenexa space will look identical to the space in Leawood, but flipped 180 degrees. At 2,500 square feet, the new space will be able to fit up to 50 students at a time, he added.
Preparing tomorrow’s workforce of coders
Sam Cook, who will manage the new space in Lenexa, said he’s “super excited” to open the new space soon because they will be able to provide additional learning opportunities for more children and adolescents in the Kansas City metro area.
“We have a family that comes from Liberty (Missouri); we have families that come from Independence and Blue Springs,” Cook said. “Some of those Independence families are going to switch to Lenexa because this is a quicker drive for them; it’s more convenient.
“We have families that have been waiting for Lenexa to open since we opened in February (2018), that come here. And now, they’re switching to over there.”
Hansen said skills children learn at Code Ninjas can better prepare them for the professional world that increasingly needs a workforce trained in coding and programming.
Already, there could be as many as 500,000 unfilled computer-related jobs nationwide, he said, adding that he’s heard that 30 to 40 percent of jobs these children will do when they join the labor force as adults don’t exist today.
“The state of Kansas does not have an educational standard for teaching kids to code,” Hansen said. “So, if schools choose to teach coding, it’s because they feel it’s necessary and they can provide it.”