MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center


Winners of the 2020 “Best of PA” Statewide Awards Event


June 9, 2020

Kim Plyler

“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Announces 3rd Annual Statewide Awards
Student Video Contest Streamed ‘Live from Home’, Instead of Harrisburg, Today

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. – June 9, 2020 – “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” (WSCM) is proud to announce the award recipients for the third annual “Best of PA” Statewide Awards Event. The awards show streamed ‘live from home’ on YouTube today, and featured the winning selections from the 22 teams competing for first, second and third place awards.

A five judge panel, representing eastern, central and western Pennsylvania, viewed 22 contestant entries, representing 13 regional contests across Pennsylvania and a total of 200 student videos, to select the statewide award recipients.

“We are so proud of the students and so excited to celebrate the Best of PA videos, even with all that is going on,” said Karen Buck, Manager of Workforce Initiatives Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC). “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 awards are as follows:

First Place: Saint Clair Middle School – featuring Hydro
Second Place: Reading Southern Middle School – featuring Novipax LLC
Third Place: Oil City Area Middle School – featuring Matric Group

The Springhouse Middle School team, who featured Sharp Packaging Solutions, 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 technology, 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 16 participating regional contests in Pennsylvania included 250 middle school teams from Berks Schuylkill, Central Susquehanna, Chester Delaware, Lehigh Valley, North Central, Northeast, Northern Tier, Northwest, Philadelphia Region, Pittsburgh Central, Pittsburgh East, Pittsburgh North, Pittsburgh South, PA Forest & Oil, South Central, and West Central.

Funding for regional pilot contests is provided by the PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

Funding for the statewide Awards show is provided by Platinum Sponsor: Nestlé Waters North America,

Gold Sponsors: PA Manufacturing Extension Partnership and RETTEW

Silver Sponsors: Catalyst Connection, Hydro, MANTEC and Chester County Economic Development Council.

Regional Program Partners: Catalyst Connection, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Chester County Economic Development Council, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Innovative Manufacturers’ Center, Manufacturers Resource Center, MANTEC, North Central Workforce Development Board, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, NWIRC, and The Foundation of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce.

For more information regarding the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest please visit:,, 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. MRC developed this innovative career awareness program that at its core is “peer marketing” (kids telling kids what’s so cool about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the What’s So Cool Website, and has been shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms. The Lehigh Valley contest is expanding across the Commonwealth and the country. Inside Pennsylvania there were originally 16 regions conducting contests this year.

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.

About Manufacturers Resource Center:
For over 30 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, 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.

Kim I Plyler
CEO SahlComm
24 E 3rd St
Bethlehem, Pa 18015
c: 484-554-5582