What's So Cool About Manufacturing Program Kicks Off its Season in Lehigh Valley PA

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Manufacturers Resource Center Celebrates Manufacturing Month, Launches Dream Team Ambassador Program and Kicks off Fifth Year of “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” MRC Continues Movement to Generate Excitement Over Manufacturing Careers as Program Expands Across the State of Pennsylvania

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The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is proud to announce the fifth year of “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” (WSCM).

This year’s program will be presented on the new “What’s So Cool” website http://www.WhatsSoCool.org The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest gives 8th graders from over 25 school districts in Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon counties the opportunity to connect directly with local manufacturers, document their experiences and present them in an educational and “cool” way through film media. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students to consider manufacturing career paths. This year, there are 30 middle school teams partnered with 30 area manufacturing companies. This expansion reflects the tremendous efforts MRC and its partners have put forth in the community.

“We are very pleased to launch WSCM for its fifth year here in the Lehigh Valley,” said Jack Pfunder, Pres/CEO of MRC. “The program’s success is spreading across the state of PA and around the country. The program, which promotes STEM education, helps foster a new understanding of opportunities in manufacturing careers. We are very grateful to our teaming partners at PBS39 and Sahl Communications, Inc. who help make this program a success.”

Armed with a GoPro camera, teacher coach, specific guidelines, curiosity and creativity, each team will tour its respective manufacturer’s location and interview employees to gain a primary understanding of that field. The teams will then take their footage and translate what they find to be cool about that manufacturing company’s jobs, employees, products and technology into a short video. Training videos that were created for educators are Emmy award winning.

“STEM education is important to ensure that all students in Pennsylvania have every opportunity for success,” said Teri Haddad, EdD, VP of Production and Education for PBS39. “PBS39 is proud to collaborate with the Manufacturers Resource Center and local companies who commit time, energy and resources for the success of students.

The students’ video submissions will be posted on the new “What’s So Cool” website http://www.WhatsSoCool.org. The videos will be open to the public for voting in mid-February for the Viewer’s Choice Award, and judges will determine best videos in a variety of other categories. At the end of February, students, parents, educators, manufacturing leaders, community sponsors, local legislators and project partners will gather for an award ceremony to announce and acknowledge winning teams. Last year, over 110,000 votes were cast during the three-day period. Last year’s video submissions are available for viewing on the “What’s So Cool” website. Original funding was furnished by grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), who is also providing seed money for additional Pennsylvania WSCM pilot Contests this year

In addition to kicking off Manufacturing Day with the launch of WSCM fifth season, MRC promoted tours for high school students at area companies, helped plan the 2017 Lehigh Valley Manufacturing Symposium, and rolled out the Dream Team ambassador program to area schools. For students new to manufacturing careers, MRC, in partnership with PBS 39, created the What’s So Cool career video series, which features young employees in Machining, Welding and Mechatronics careers. For more information about What’s So Cool career videos log on to http://www.whatssocool.org For those not able to visit a facility, MRC has partnered with PBS 39 to create an online video series called Inside Manufacturing, which invites the community to take a look behind the doors at 12 area manufacturing facilities. For more information on Inside Manufacturing log on to http://www.mrcpa.org

Visit http://www.WhatsSoCool.org for more information and resources.

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About “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing”:
Developed by Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), WSCM program is a video based educational tool that increases awareness of career paths 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 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 will be twelve 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.

About Manufacturers Resource Center:
For nearly 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.

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Kim Plyler