The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) announced today that the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” (WSCM) Lehigh Valley student video contest awards event will be broadcast live on WFMZ-TV on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Generous contributions from Air Products Foundation, Workforce Board Lehigh Valley and WFMZ-TV will make it possible for WFMZ-TV to broadcast this year’s awards show live.

“We are pleased to be working with Manufacturers Resource Center to bring this live program to the region. WSCM is doing exceptional work in providing students in the region with insight into career options they may never have considered. The live one-hour program will allow the entire student population in the Lehigh Valley the opportunity to benefit by seeing these career options,” said Barry Fisher, President and General Manager of WFMZ-TV.

For the past seven years, WSCM has been fully supported by community sponsors here in the Lehigh Valley.

“The applied experience the middle school students get through our What’s So Cool competition is compelling,” said Laurie Hackett of Air Products. “We appreciate the chance to present the students with exciting opportunities in manufacturing and support their interests in possible future careers.”

“The workforce data speaks for itself. Manufacturing is the second largest demand industry in the Lehigh Valley, employing nearly 11 percent of our workforce and growing,” said Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director Workforce Board Lehigh Valley. “It demands our attention in the

form of career pathways and raising awareness to increase the talent pipeline that feeds this critical sector in the Lehigh Valley. What’s So Cool? Manufacturing is Cool!”

Now in its seventh year, the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Lehigh Valley contest gives 7th and 8th graders from 30 schools in Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties the opportunity to team with 30 local manufacturers to document their experiences in educational and “cool” videos. The teams share their visual stories across their school districts, and throughout their communities, to garner votes in order to compete for the Viewers Choice Award. There are ten other award categories reviewed by a panel of judges. Winners from the 16 Pennsylvania contests are then chosen to represent their region in a statewide competition on April 29, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pa.

The contest was created by MRC in the Lehigh Valley in 2013 and has since expanded to 16 regional contests across Pennsylvania, and its format has been adopted by groups in 14 other states, for the 2019-2020 school year.

“The continued growth of this contest really reflects the tremendous efforts MRC, its partners eMediaWorks, EmpowerStar Marketing and Sahl Communications, Inc., and the teachers and students have put forth in the community in its first seven seasons,” said Rich Hobbs, President and CEO at MRC. “We’re excited by the opportunity to get the student’s videos seen by a wider audience.”

Original funding for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” was furnished by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Voting for the seventh annual “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Videos will be available Feb. 19-21, on the What’s So Cool website, WhatsSoCool.org.