High school students exploring their career possibilities for post-graduation may not be aware of all of the options available to them. Enrolling in college, enlisting in the military, or pursuing a certificate from a trade or tech school are all possible pathways students may navigate down. But Berks County is also home to many manufacturers who offer job opportunities in a range of industries with room to grow and learn. The annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contests strive to inform students and the public about job opportunities in manufacturing while highlighting local companies and teaching students invaluable digital storytelling skills.
In 2013, the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) in Allentown, PA created the annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contests to excite students to explore manufacturing careers. It started with the participation of only 16 school districts, but has quickly expanded to include 283 school districts, 508 manufacturers, and over 5,000 students today. Each year, the student and teacher teams from each school receive camera equipment and professional guidance to tour their assigned company, shoot video footage and interviews, and create a final two minute video with an outreach plan.
The regional contests ask students to produce profiles of companies throughout Pennsylvania that will then be judged and entered to win a variety of awards, including Outstanding Overall Program, Viewers Choice, Outstanding Team Spirit, and more.
“With these new digital storytelling skills, students are capturing and sharing videos about jobs in manufacturing. Their videos educate students, parents, and teachers about career pathways and dispel the myths and stigmas associated with manufacturing jobs,” the Berks Schuylkill 2021 awards event video said.
Students interested in learning more about manufacturing career opportunities or participating in the next What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contest can visit https://www.whatssocool.org/. The site features profiles from local manufacturing companies including:
The website offers resources for pursuing specific manufacturing careers in mechanical and chemical engineering, assembly, CAD, welding, mechatronics, accounting, electronics, machinists, and supply chain management. If a student is interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing the first step is to contact a counselor for more information, they will then be guided to complete the proper training, sometimes attending a local school such as the Bethlehem Area Vocational and Technical School, CIT, CCTI, LCTI, LCCC, and Northampton Community College before beginning their careers.