PA Dream Team Program
The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is working collaboratively with schools, industry, and area stakeholders to create innovative programs that feature technical careers, STEM and CTE education to students, parents, and educators.
With the assistance of the Berks County Workforce Development Board and United Way Berks County, and in partnership with Berks County Intermediate Unit, MRC is launching the PA Dream Team pilot program in Berks County for Fall 2021. Ten members representing regional manufacturers are being trained to share their career stories with K-12 students in the classroom using presentation materials, hands-on activities, and Lesson Plans that align with academic standards.
The purpose of the PA Dream Team Program is to improve the talent pool of students pursuing technical skills and increase the number of students interested in STEM careers so that projected workforce demands at area manufacturing companies are filled with skills-ready employees. PA Dream Team members are employees mostly under the age of 30 working at area manufacturing companies. By serving on a collaborate and innovative ambassador team, they help unlock interest among students to consider similar STEM careers.
To learn more about the Berks County program or schedule a classroom presentation, visit the PA Dream Team Website, www.padreamteam.com.
What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? (WSCM)
Developed by Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing (WSCM) program is a video-based educational competition that increases awareness of career paths in manufacturing. MRC developed this innovative career awareness project to serve as “peer marketing” (kids telling kids about “what’s so cool” about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the website: www.WhatsSoCool.org, and shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms.
The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing program provides middle school students a unique opportunity to connect directly with local manufacturers as they use their curiosity and creativity to research, develop, edit and produce a “cool” video to document their experiences. Student teams partner with manufacturers to create a video that features the products, processes, services, and career pathways of the manufacturer. Employers value the community engagement, connection with their future workforce, and the employee morale that WSCM instills. The educators value the experiential learning of what modern, cool manufacturing looks like and the peer to peer opportunities that the program provides county-wide.
The WSCM program is kicking off its 6th year in Berks County in the fall of 2021. The release of a comprehensive manufacturing video library in 2020, funded by a Manufacturing Training-to-Career Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, is a library of the “who’s who” in Pennsylvania manufacturing. The library can be accessed through the WSCM website and contains almost 900 manufacturing videos featuring over 500 unique Pennsylvania manufacturers. Student teams utilize the newly created WSCM video library that will serve as a digital asset for years to come and show viewers just how important manufacturing is to our region.
With 36 teams, the Berks-Schuylkill WSCM program has been the largest in the state. The program’s continued success and growth can be attributed to the efforts put forth by MRC and its many partners organizations.