“What’s So Cool?” Statewide Award Winners Announced

"What's So Cool?" logo in purple and gold with a robot arm

May 18th 2022
Kim Plyler

“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Annual Statewide Awards
takes place at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, PA. – May 18th , 2022 – “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” (WSCM) is proud to announce the award recipients for the annual “Best of PA” Statewide Awards Event. The awards show was held at Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, PA, and began at 12:30 pm. This year, the contest included 22 student teams competing for first, second and third place awards, as well as a Viewers Choice award.

A five-judge panel, representing eastern, central, and western Pennsylvania, viewed the 22 entries, representing 8 regional contests across Pennsylvania and a total of 113 student videos, to select the statewide award recipients. “All of the student teams worked so hard on their videos and had memorable interaction with their manufacturing partners, and we are so excited and proud to celebrate the Best of PA videos,” said Karen Buck, Manager of Workforce Initiatives Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) and WSCM Statewide Program Manager. “The continued success of the What’s So Cool program validates its effort to promote manufacturing career pathways and STEM and CTE education statewide and nationwide, and to help plan for a robust economic future.”

This year’s award winners are as follows:
First Place: Eyer Middle School featuring BlueTriton Brands
Second Place: Northeast Middle School featuring Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
Third Place: (TIE) Conrad Weiser Middle School featuring F.M. Brown’s Sons,
Inc. and Bangor Area Middle School featuring L&M Fabrication & Machine
Viewers Choice: Springhouse Middle School featuring Stanley Black & Decker, was recognized for garnering the largest number of regional vote totals across the state, during three days of online voting where all Pennsylvania teams competed to win their regional Viewers Choice Award.

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest, which originated in the Lehigh Valley and is the brainchild of MRC, has garnered over 3,000,000 combined votes by the public during regional online voting dates since its inception in 2013, and more than 50% of Pennsylvania school districts have participated in the program.

The WSCM Student Video Contest gives students the opportunity to interact with local manufacturers as they gain new perspectives about careers and advanced manufacturing technologies, record their experiences, and present them in an educational and “cool” way through documentary video production. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” program includes a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved lesson plan that is in use across the Commonwealth. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students toward considering manufacturing career paths to create a 21st century workforce.

This season’s original 8 participating regional contests in Pennsylvania included 113 middle school teams from Berks Schuylkill, Central Susquehanna, Chester Delaware, Lehigh Valley, North Central, Philadelphia Region, Pittsburgh, and South Central.

Spearheading the 2022 regional contests in Pennsylvania are as follows:
Berks Schuylkill Program: Berks Business-Education Coalition (BBEC), Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), and Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers
Central Susquehanna Program: Advance Central PA, BLaST Intermediate Unit, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), and The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce
Chester Delaware Program: Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC)
Lehigh Valley Program: Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC)
North Central Program: Workforce Solutions for North Central Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Region Program: Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) Pittsburgh Program: Catalyst Connection
South Central Program: MANTEC

Funding for the statewide Awards show is provided by Platinum Sponsors: Catalyst Connection, MRC, and Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Gold Sponsor: DVIRC Silver Sponsors: MANTEC and North Central Workforce Development Board Statewide Planning Team: eMediaWorks, EmpowerStar Enterprises, MRC, and Sahl Communications.

Award Presenters included the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
For more information regarding the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest please visit: WhatsSoCool.org/BestofPA, www.WhatsSoCool.org, or follow on Twitter @WhatsSoCoolPA.

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 WSCM contest has expanded across the Commonwealth and the country. The WSCM Video Library was created as a digital resource showcasing more than 500 Pennsylvania manufacturers. https://www.whatssocool.org/video-library/.

This contest gives students the opportunity 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) in 2013.

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 advanced technologies and their existing human capital. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program, as well as the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The MRC is dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunity in eastern Pennsylvania’s Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Don’t see what you are looking for or have a question? MRC can help. Contact us today!

Training and Certifications

MRC provides far more than certifications and funding assistance. We offer job creators access to specialized coaching, mentorship and a variety of business and marketing assistance normally outside the reach of most manufacturers.


No matter what’s happening with your business, MRC has probably seen it. We know the problems that keep CEOs up at night, and we know how to help solve them. Our staff has more than 100 years of combined experience working side-by-side with business owners to evaluate, strategize, discover and implement solutions that address both strategic growth needs and organizational transformation.

Training & Events Calendar

MRC breaks down the barriers that prohibit manufacturers from realizing their full potential. Our proven tactics and methods can help nearly any company at nearly any stage of its evolution. Whatever the hurdle – going green, becoming lean, entering new markets, rebranding the company – MRC can help you clear it.

Workforce Initiatives

Developing Future Workforce with programs like: What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®, PA Dream Team, the Inside Manufacturing Series, and Manufacturing Day.


Through our partnerships, we are able to bring the horsepower of the best-in-breed experts to you. Imagine having access to the second-largest technology institute in the world, a corps of ex-Toyota executives trained under the best Lean practitioners in the world or world-renowned business strategy groups. MRC makes it possible.

About Us

For over 30 years, 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.

My Account

Ready to complete your event registration? Need to confirm the date of a previous registration? Find all these details here or call us at (610) 628-4640 for additional assistance.