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“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Contest Draws Over 200,000 Votes

By Colin McEvoy on April 30, 2021

A screenshot from the video by Lower Macungie Middle School and Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., which won the Outstanding Creativity award.

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Lehigh Valley student video contest received more than 200,000 votes over a three-day voting period, despite restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed by the Manufacturers Resource Center, the annual contest returned for its eighth consecutive year with a virtual broadcast on April 26. The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was a sponsor for the event.

The contest challenges student teams from Lehigh Valley-area middle schools to shoot, edit, and promote short videos that document their experiences with a local manufacturer. The videos will compete regionally for awards in seven different categories.

“This was a great contest and the hard work of the students, teachers and manufacturers is really evident,” said Rich Hobbs, President & CEO of MRC. “Being able to broadcast the awards means the results of that hard work have reached so much deeper into the community to raise awareness about manufacturing career opportunities.”

A total of 206,137 votes were cast in this year’s contest. Students from 20 schools in Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon counties participated in the videos, working with 20 regional manufacturing companies.

Participating manufacturers this year include B. Braun Medical Inc., Bosch Rexroth Corporation, C. F. Martin & Co., JULABO USA, Just Born Quality Confections, Lutron Electronics Co., Mack Trucks, Nestlé Waters North America, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Sharp Packaging Solutions, and more.

Each student team scripts, shoots, edits and promotes a short video that documents their experience, highlighting what is “cool” about manufacturing. A panel of judges reviewed the awards in six categories, and the video with the most votes received the Viewers Choice Award.

The program is a video-based educational tool that seeks to increase awareness of career paths and technology in manufacturing, and dispel any false perceptions younger generations may have about manufacturing jobs, Hobbs said.

All the videos submitted this year can be found here, and the winners can be found below:

  • Outstanding Overall Program: Northeast Middle School – Kitchen Magic

  • Outstanding Creativity: Lower Macungie Middle School – Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

  • Outstanding Cool: Raub Middle School – C.F.Martin & Co., Inc.

  • Outstanding Team Spirit: TIE Bangor Area Middle School – B. Braun Medical Inc.

  • Outstanding Team Spirit: TIE Northern Lehigh Middle School – FMI

  • Viewers Choice: Wind Gap Middle School – Bio Med Sciences Inc.

  • Outstanding Outreach Plan: Wilson Area Intermediate School – Bosch Rexroth Corporation

  • Outstanding Career Pathway: Springhouse Middle School – Innovative

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Lehigh Valley contest format, originally created in the Lehigh Valley in 2013, has grown in popularity and has been adopted by groups in 14 other states.

The awards show was also broadcast on WFMZ. Visit WhatsSoCool.org for more information and resources and follow on Facebook.com/wscmlv and Twitter @wscmlv.

Dedicated sponsorship by community partners like LVEDC has helped the program continue during the pandemic, Hobbs said. With the impacts of a pandemic affecting many educational programing, WSCM has adapted the program to meet the needs of students, teachers, manufacturers, and school districts.

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