Berks County Joins Forces with Schuylkill County to Kick Off the 2nd Year of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” Program

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MRC Continues Movement to Generate Excitement Over Manufacturing Careers as Program Expands Across the State

The Berks County Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is proud to announce that they have joined forces with Schuylkill County for the 2nd year of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” program.

This year the 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 15 Berks County school districts and 11 Schuylkill County school districts 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 32 middle school teams from Berks & Schuylkill Counties partnered with 32 area-manufacturing companies. The expansion into Berks & Schuylkill Counties reflects the tremendous efforts MRC, and Berks and Schuylkill County partners have put forth in the community.

“WSCM is an impactful way to try to change people’s minds. The contest positively promotes manufacturing careers that may be the best path for many of our students,” says Terri Lampe, Business Development Manager Berks County Manufacturers Resource Center. “The manufacturers are eager to show off the cool technology and products and services at their facilities. They’re very proud of the significant impact their business makes to the economic health and vitality of Berks County and are excited to be teaming with Schuylkill County this year.”

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 or industry into a short video. Training videos that were created for educators are Emmy award winning.

The students’ video submissions will be posted on the What's So Cool website. The videos will be open to the public for voting in March 2018 for the Viewer’s Choice Award, and judges will determine best videos in a variety of other categories. In March 2018 students, parents, educators, manufacturing leaders, community sponsors, local legislators and project partners will gather for an award ceremony to announce and acknowledge winning teams.

The WSCM campaign is led by MRC. Original funding was furnished by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Funding for this year’s Berks & Schuylkill WSCM Contest is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Business-Education Partnership (BEP) Grant, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant and community manufacturing company sponsorship. In addition to MRC, PBS 39, and Sahl Communications, this year’s Berks & Schuylkill County partners also include Berks Business-Education Coalition, Berks Career & Technology Center, Berks County Industrial Development Authority, Berks County Intermediate Unit, Berks County Workforce Development Board, Greater Berks Development Fund, Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Greater Reading Economic Partnership, Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, Pottstown High School Career & Tech, Reading Area Community College, and Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center.

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 contest is expanding across the Commonwealth and the country. Inside Pennsylvania there will be 12 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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