Three new What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contests for the 2017-2018 school year have helped increase total participation to students in 36 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – a combined area that represents nearly 7 million of the state’s 12.7 million residents.

Inaugural contests will be held in Central PA, Northeast PA, and Northwest PA. With these first-year contests and expansion in the greater Pittsburgh area, this distinctive career awareness effort has gained presence in more than half of Pennsylvania within five years from its creation. The contest’s format also has been adopted by groups in 11 additional states.

Created by the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) in Allentown, PA, the annual video contest excites students to explore cool manufacturing careers and produce profiles of companies throughout Pennsylvania. The teams of students and teacher coaches receive camera equipment, software, and professional guidance as they learn to script, record, and edit their video stories. Judges bestow a variety of awards and fans vote online for its Viewers Choice Award. The contest’s objective is to change students’ perceptions about manufacturing careers.

The eight contests held in Pennsylvania during 2016-2017 featured entries from 117 schools and districts. The 12 contests for 2017-2018 are expected to draw more than 200 entries.

MRC produces the flagship Lehigh Valley contest, which began in 2013-2014 and serves Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon counties. MRC also produces a contest for Berks and Schuylkill counties, now in its second year. The third-year contest for Chester and Delaware counties is produced by Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties. A second-year South Central PA contest produced by MANTEC in York serves York and Lancaster counties. A second-year North Central PA contest produced by Workforce Solutions for North Central PA in Kersey serves Elk, Cameron, Potter, and McKean counties.

A Philadelphia regional contest is produced by the Manufacturing Alliance of Philadelphia. Now in its second year, the contest serves Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks counties.

Contests produced in the Pittsburgh area by the Catalyst Connection and titled Explore the New Manufacturing are now in their third year. This year’s three contests – Pittsburgh Central, Pittsburgh South, and Pittsburgh East – will serve Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

The new Central PA contest – produced by PA Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Williamsport – will serve Centre, Clearfield, Lycoming, and Northumberland counties. The new Northwest PA contest – produced by the Northwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center – will serve Erie County. The new Northeast PA contest – produced by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center in Hanover Township – will serve Luzerne and Monroe counties.

Data from the Pennsylvania State Data Center at Penn State University reflects a total of 6,909,420 people living in the contest’s 36 counties and a state population of 12,787,209 people.

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contests are supported regionally by their sponsors and partners. Production support for several contests is provided by PBS39 Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA. Funds to develop the contests were provided in 2013 by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Discovered in PA, Developed in PA” program for an MRC project called Lehigh Valley Skill-Up.

About the Manufacturers Resource Center
The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunity in eastern Pennsylvania’s Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program, as well as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development.
 
News Story Contact
Karen Buck, Manufacturers Resource Center
Allentown, PA, 610.628.4626