What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?

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Getting high school students interested in a career in manufacturing has been a challenge. Most students regard manufacturing work as dirty, dangerous, low-paying work. Making matters worse, only 35% of parents indicate they would encourage their son or daughter to consider a career in manufacturing. So who better to help get the message to students that today’s manufacturing jobs are exciting, high-tech, rewarding and pay well? How about the students themselves.

Created in Allentown, PA in 2013 by the Manufacturers Resource Center, the ‘What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest challenges students to produce videos that educate their peers on the exciting opportunities in today’s manufacturing sector. Teams of students are given camera equipment, software and together with their teacher coaches and manufacturing partner company, write, film and edit their stories.

Since it was founded in 2013 the annual contest has seen fantastic growth. In Pennsylvania alone there were 16 regional contests consisting of 240 teams. In addition to the Pennsylvania competition, the format has been adopted by over a dozen states including Kentucky, New Jersey, Indiana and Ohio. Most have partnered with the “Dream It. Do It.” network, founded by The Manufacturing Institute in 2005 with the common goal of presenting an accurate picture of what modern manufacturing jobs look like in the digital age.

Winners of this years Pennsylvania contest were announced at the Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg. On hand was Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin who commented, “When we get young students engaged in manufacturing – when we let them see these jobs first-hand and get excited about them – we’re opening up a world of opportunity for their future careers. The talent and creativity on display through this contest is astounding and makes me more hopeful than ever before about the future of Pennsylvania manufacturing. Congratulations to all of the winners and every student team that submitted a video this year!”

Winners of this year’s “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest and their manufacturing partners are:

First place: Neil A. Armstrong Middle School featuring Macron Dynamics

Second place: Reading Southern Middle School featuring Packaging Corporation of America

Third place: Northeast Middle School featuring Just Born Quality Confections

For more on the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest and to watch the videos, visit whatssocool.org