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Help Answer the Question: “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?”

By Colin McEvoy on February 10, 2016

What’s so cool about manufacturing? Now, you can help answer that question.

The third annual Manufacturers Resource Center‘s (MRC) student video contest is back, in which students from middle and high school students from across the Lehigh Valley and beyond visit a local manufacturer and create a video to answer the question, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?”

The videos are now online at the “Dream It, Do It, PA” website, and viewers can vote for their favorites between Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Friday, Feb. 19. The winners will be unveiled at the contest celebration event on Feb. 23, to be held at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Thirty different sets of schools and companies participated in the event this year, up from 22 last year, said Jack Pfunder, President and CEO of MRC.

The contest is expected to draw more than 100,000 votes, and more than 800 people are expected to attend the Feb. 23 event. The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is a sponsor with the program.

Pfunder said the contest is an excellent way to create awareness for a younger generation of what a career in manufacturing is like, as well as to combat negative stigmas sometimes associated with it.

“There’s obviously an image problem in manufacturing, but I think kids in career and technical schools and community colleges are finally realizing there are very good careers in manufacturing,” he said. “Kids need to know what a job in manufacturing looks like, and see that with the technology available now, it’s not just the same thing over and over again. It’s an exciting and well-paying career.”

Pfunder points out enrollment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs at Lehigh Valley technical schools have increased since the video contest began. At the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, that number grew from 254 in 2012 to 410 in 2015.

Every school district except for one in Northampton, Lehigh, and Carbon counties are participating in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest this year, as well as one each from Bucks and Schuylkill counties.

Among the Lehigh Valley companies participating int he contest are Air Products, Martin Guitar, Mack Trucks, B. Braun Medical, Just Born Quality Confections, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Lutron Electronics, Bosch Rexroth, and the Follett Corporation.

Seven videos won awards last year in such categories as outstanding editing, creativity, team spirit, educational value, videography, and a coolness factor. Last year’s videos can be found here.

Southern Lehigh Middle School won the “Outstanding Program” award last year for its video it made about the Crayola factory. Called “Crayola in Color,” the video begins with a black-and-white shot of the students arriving in the factory parking lot, then becomes bright and colorful as they enter. The video can be seen below:

The video contest is spreading throughout the state and country, modeled after the one in the Lehigh Valley, Pfunder said. Similar “Dream It, Do It, PA” programs have started in Chester and Allegheny counties, and similar contests have also started in seven other states.

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$41.2 Billion

2018 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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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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$65,119

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672,907

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Olympus
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358,000

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Lutron Electronics
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26.1% of Labor Force
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5,073

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Mack Trucks
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85,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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149,000

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