The Pendleton economic development strategy calls for the city to promote three key areas of progress: 1) cutting-edge technology training and digital workforce development; 2) strategic and creative investments in high-return industrial projects; and 3) the promotion of the commercial unmanned aerospace sector's growth at the Pendleton Airport Industrial Park.
Through tech-focused academics and city programs that specifically target student development, Pendleton is continually improving the skills and qualifications of its already talented workforce.
Pendleton High School recently expanded to include a state-of-the-art culinary program and aerospace engineering curriculum, jointly referred to as P-Tech.
Sister-city and study abroad opportunities ensure that students experience a variety of other cultures, and are equipped to embrace a diverse world with confidence.
Looking to the future, Pendleton has invested significant resources into a strong robotics program for local students.
Robotic teams at all grade levels have consistently excelled in state and regional competitions. Guided work sessions for high school bot builders are common practice at the test range, where they have access to 3D printers and volunteer engineers.
Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC), which attracts students from all over the US, has also grown its campus with the recently-opened FARM - Facility for Agriculture Resource Management, and is in planning for FARM 2, a livestock science facility in cooperation with the city and the Pendleton Round-Up.
Pendleton is also the crossroads for some very big data. Because the city hosts a major fiber optic hub, the community enjoys the fastest and lowest cost commercial and residential internet connectivity in the western US.
Compared to the average Oregon internet subscriber, who typically gets 15 Mbps, Pendleton homes and businesses with fiber optic service receive speeds of an unheard of +500 Mbps.
Over the last five years the city has made a series of strategic land expenditures and public benefit agreements that have resulted in comparable outside investments.
The Round-Up campus has plans to expand to house a hotel and extra event space, and there are over 500 acres of buildable land around the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. The surge of activity at the airport, specifically the unmanned test range, has prompted the city to invest in new infrastructure to house the influx of drone developers.
Fifteen test pads have been installed, complete with power, water, and dark fiber. A multi-purpose hangar was completed in June of 2017, and plans to build more are in the works.
WWII hangars are getting remodeled for modern use, and other key public/private joint ventures are underway. The city of Pendleton has breathed new life into its airport industrial sector, and the economy as a whole is reaping the rewards.