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Lehigh Valley Student Videos Show ‘What’s So Cool About Manufacturing’

By Colin McEvoy on April 6, 2022

Students from the Bangor Area Middle School accepting the award for Outstanding Overall Program award in the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contest.

Twenty-eight school districts from the greater Lehigh Valley area created videos providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of regional manufacturing companies as part of the student video contest What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?

Winners from various categories were presented at an April 5 ceremony at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem for the 9th annual What’s So Cool? contest, which seeks to increase awareness of career paths and technology in manufacturing, and dispel false perceptions younger generations may have about manufacturing jobs.

“Your videos show us the jobs, the technology, the products, and the career opportunities that exist in modern-day manufacturing,” Rich Hobbs, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), a founding partner in the Lehigh Valley event.

“We drive by manufacturing companies all the time, and we really don’t know what goes on inside, but these videos I think give us a glimpse inside the four walls so we can see what our manufacturers are doing,” Hobbs said. “… The videos get better and better each year.”

A growth in manufacturing output in the Lehigh Valley launched the region into a Top 50 manufacturing market in the United States in 2020. Manufacturing makes up the second-largest portion of the region’s $42.9 billion gross domestic product in 2020, with a total economic output of $7.9 billion.

The What’s So Cool? contest featured school districts in Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, and Carbon counties and the Diocese of Allentown. Each was partnered with manufacturers in the Greater Lehigh Valley area, and teams of students and teacher coaches received camera equipment, software, and professional guidance as they learned to script, record, and edit their videos.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was a sponsor in the event.

The Bangor Area Middle School team won the Outstanding Overall Program award for its video about the East Allen Township-based L&M Fabrication & Machine, while Parkland’s Springhouse Middle School won the Viewers Choice award based on online audience votes for its video about Stanley Black & Decker.

Those videos can be viewed below, and all of the videos can be viewed on the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Website.

Other participating manufacturers this year included Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Equipto, JULABO USA, Lehigh Valley Plastics, Lutron Electronics Co., Mack Trucks, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Orbel Corporation, Primal Critical Care, ProtoCAM, Tyber Medical, and more.

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Lehigh Valley contest format, originally created by MRC in the Lehigh Valley in 2013, has grown in popularity and has been adopted by groups in other parts of Pennsylvania and more than a dozen additional states.

The full list of this year’s winners can be found below:

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? awards ceremony was broadcast live on WFMZ. The full video replay can be found here.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

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Lehigh Valley Health Network
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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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$66,865

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676,700

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347,612

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26.6% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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5,073

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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

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10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

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149,000

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