10th Anniversary for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®”

Kicking off MRC’s 10th Anniversary for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®”
Lehigh Valley’s Student-Manufacturer Teams Are Announced

MRC & Local Manufacturers continue to spread Awareness of Manufacturing Careers

November 1, 2022
Contact: kim@sahlcomm.com

Lehigh Valley, PA – November 1, 2022– The 10th Anniversary is an incredible milestone for the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) program “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” (WSCM). The ever-evolving student video contest kicks off this year in the Lehigh Valley, where MRC promotes STEM education in middle schools. This entire program supports the student video contest, culminating with the awards ceremony in March. The program’s goal is to heighten awareness for young people to be exposed to various manufacturing career paths. In 10 years, the WSCM program has gained momentum and been implemented across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Valley team has been leading the expansion and will continue to grow the program across the United States. More than 6000 students from around the commonwealth, 525 manufacturers, and 60% of Pennsylvania school districts resulted from MRC’s launch of WSCM 10 years ago. Over the past decade, MRC has grown The WSCM Video Library with almost 1,000 manufacturing videos to become a much sought-after resource for education and economic development. True bonds are formed between the ‘Valley’ manufacturers and middle school students that will last for decades to come!

10th Anniversary What's So Cool About Manufacturing logoThe “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” student video contest provides 7th and 8th graders a unique opportunity to connect directly with local manufacturers as they use their curiosity and creativity to develop, shoot, edit and produce a “cool” video to document their experiences. Student teams will partner with manufacturers in eleven regions across Pennsylvania this year, where videos will compete first in regional contests and then in the annual Statewide Awards in Harrisburg. The contest is spearheaded by Manufacturers Resource Center.

Photo of Rich Hobbs inside his quote about the 10th Anniversary
“Bringing the excitement of “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” for the last 10 years in the Lehigh Valley is certainly a true accomplishment,” states Rich Hobbs, MRC President & CEO. “It takes communities joining together to embrace an established and well-loved contest that not only inspires and educates, but that potentially grows a future workforce which in turn, will support economic growth and expansion in the area,” he concludes.

This year, 32 student teams from Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton County middle schools are partnering with 32 area manufacturers to produce their video submissions in the Lehigh Valley Program. All videos will be posted on the “What’s So Cool” website WhatsSoCool.org and will be open to the public for voting on March 1-3, 2023 for the Viewers Choice Award. The Lehigh Valley Awards Event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, and will be broadcast live on WFMZ. The program’s continued success and growth are attributed to the efforts the teachers and students have put forth in the community since its inception. MRC and its partners eMediaWorks, Sahl Communications, Inc., and EmpowerStar Enterprises and the many community sponsors are committed to its sustainability.

For its 10th year, MRC is proud to announce the following participating schools and their featured manufacturers:

Listing of 27 Student-Manufacturer Teams of Lehigh Valley What's So Cool About Manufacturing? Lehigh Valley Contest

Photo of Karen Buck, Director of What's So Cool About Manufacturing video contests“Ten years of building awareness about careers in the manufacturing sector has culminated in dynamic partnerships between business and education.” said Karen Buck, Director, Workforce Initiatives at MRC. “The 10th anniversary of the program reinforces the need for students, parents, friends, and businesses to continue to learn together about the opportunities available in manufacturing. Middle school students experience a rare behind-the-scenes perspective into interesting and profitable careers and see first-hand the important benefits of STEM and CTE education in high school”, she said.

Visit WhatsSoCool.org and WSCM Video Library for more information and resources.


About “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®”: Developed by Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), the WSCM program is a video-based educational tool that increases awareness of career paths and technology in manufacturing through “peer marketing” (kids telling kids what’s so cool about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the What’s So Cool Website and shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms. The Lehigh Valley contest has expanded across the Commonwealth and the country.
The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” comprehensive manufacturing video library was created by MRC and WSCM PA in 2020 and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED). The interactive library of the who’s who in Pennsylvania manufacturing, garnered from the yearly regional contests, is intended to serve as an educational resource for anyone curious about manufacturing in Pennsylvania. The library can be accessed through the WhatsSoCool.org website and contains almost 1000 student videos featuring over 500 Pennsylvania manufacturers.  https://www.whatssocool.org/video-library/

This contest allows students to connect with local manufacturers, document their experiences, and present them in an educational and “cool” way. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students towards manufacturing career paths, and CTE and STEM education. Original funding for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” was furnished by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED).

About Manufacturers Resource Center:
For 33 years, the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies, and invest more effectively in their existing human capital. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program and the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. MRC is dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunities in eastern Pennsylvania’s Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.



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