What if I told you that Bend would soon to be home to a new digital marketing program that teaches college students and recent grads practical skills they likely aren’t learning in school? Well, the cat’s officially out of the bag — and he’s already creating a lead nurturing campaign.

BendPoly is the latest project of Bruce Cleveland, a Bay Area venture capitalist who has been championing Bend’s tech scene. A general partner with Interwest Partners, Cleveland has joined forces with some local dynamos including Cari Baldwin, CEO of Bluebird Strategies, to create BendPoly.

The six-week digital marketing course will be taught by industry veterans from Marketo, NewsCred and Obility as well as Bend-based Bluebird Strategies, Manzama and G5.

Cleveland’s family is from Salem and he has a home here. He says:

I founded BendPoly – with a lot of help from others – with the mission of bringing high paying, clean jobs to Bend and Central Oregon. To compete and win jobs today, college graduates need more than a sheepskin. They need to know how to operate the machinery and tools of a service-based economy; applications that drive critical revenue functions such as: digital marketing, customer success, sales operations, and others.

This is what we are focused on at BendPoly; producing graduates with the skills industry demands. And, those jobs can be performed anywhere, not just corporate HQ. We want BendPoly graduates to be exposed to how wonderful Bend is and to be able to stay in Bend to work, raise families, and help build a vibrant community in Central Oregon.”

The program includes four weeks of classroom instruction followed by two weeks of practical application. For the first, instructors include Jon Miller, co-founder of Marketo; Cleveland; John Dempsey, senior corporate communication strategist and lead social media strategist for G5; and Lisa Flynn, chief revenue officer for Manzama.

For the IRL projects, students will get to put their digital marketing skills to the test for Silicon Valley-based and Bend tech companies (including G5, Manzama, Bluebird Strategies and Agency Revolution with more to come).

Baldwin is BendPoly’s chief instructor. She helped make BendPoly a reality in hopes of grooming the next generation of digital marketers — and possibly snagging a few new employees for herself in the process.

From Baldwin:

My husband and I love living and working in Bend. Our jobs take us out of Central Oregon frequently, and that is what makes working in digital marketing for tech companies so fulfilling – the ability to provide products and services virtually has never been so easy. BlueBird clients, both in Bend and around the world, have a need for digital marketing skills and demand generation expertise and we are able to fill that gap.

For its inaugural course, Baldwin is hoping for between 20 and 30 students. The program is aimed at college juniors, seniors and recent grads from Oregon. However some people (o.k. it’s me) are hoping that eventually others a wee bit further out of college will be able to sign up for portions of the program that interest them. Because life long learning.

Applications for the program are due May 31. The course begins in July and will be held at the OSU-Cascades campus. The program costs $2,500 and Baldwin says that there will be some scholarships available for students. BendPoly is also working on obtaining housing at COCC dorms for students who may need it. (Housing is not included in the program cost).

The BendPoly website went live just yesterday. So if you’re interested, fill out the form for more information. They’ll get back to you. And then maybe you’ll spend your summer, you know, changing your life. Or at the very least learning digital marketing skills that could land you a J-O-B.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley