What’s So Cool 11th Anniversary, New Venue & Student/Manufacturer Teams Announced

Kicking off MRC’s 11th Anniversary for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” Lehigh Valley’s Student-Manufacturer Teams Are Announced and New Venue Selected

A new decade for MRC and Local Manufacturers to continue to spread Awareness of Manufacturing Careers in the Lehigh Valley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     October 25, 2023
Contact: kim@sahlcomm.com

 Lehigh Valley, PA –October 25, 2023– The 11th Anniversary launches the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” (WSCM) program into a new decade. The ever-evolving student video contest kicks off this year in the Lehigh Valley, where MRC promotes STEM education in middle schools. “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” supports the student video contest, culminating with the awards event in March. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students towards manufacturing career paths, and CTE and STEM education. In 10 years, the WSCM program has gained momentum and been implemented across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

The Lehigh Valley planning team has been leading the expansion and will continue to grow the WSCM program across the United States.  More than 6000 students from around the commonwealth, 600 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 housed on the WhatsSoCool.org website with almost 1,200 manufacturing videos to become a much sought-after resource for education and economic development. True bonds formed between the ‘Valley’ manufacturers and middle school students will last for decades to come!

Rich Hobbs

Rich Hobbs, MRC President & CEO

“With all the growth and attention around the program and the awards event we have decided to move the awards night to Lehigh University’s Stabler Athletic & Convocation Center on March 26, 2024,” said Rich Hobbs, MRC President & CEO. Lehigh’s expanded support for the program will allow us to expand visibility for our manufactures by hosting an expo just prior to the awards program. We are thrilled to be partnering with them.”

The “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.

“Bringing the excitement of “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” for the last 11 years in the Lehigh Valley is certainly a true accomplishment,” states Hobbs. “It takes communities joining together to embrace an established and well-loved contest that not only inspires and educates, but potentially grows a future workforce which in turn, will support economic growth and expansion in the area,” he concludes.

This year, 30 student teams from Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton County middle schools are partnering with 30 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 13-15, 2024 for the Viewers Choice Award. The Lehigh Valley Awards Event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at Stabler Athletic & Convocation Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., 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 11th year, MRC is proud to announce the following participating schools and their featured manufacturers:Karen Buck photo“As we start our second decade of building awareness about careers in the manufacturing sector we have increased our dynamic partnerships between business and education.” said Karen Buck, Director, Workforce Initiatives at MRC. “The 11th 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,” said Buck.

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 1200 student videos featuring over 600 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.

Kim I Plyler, CEO
+1 484-554-5582

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