They may not have won a prize, but students at Bangor Area Middle School said they learned a great deal and had a lot of fun participating in this year’s “What’s so Cool About Manufacturing Contest?” which wrapped up Tuesday night with an awards ceremony at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.
And at least one team member said she was inspired to pursue further education in STEM – shorthand for science, technology, engineering and math – as a result of what she learned during the video contest.
Bangor students worked with Follett Corp. of Forks Township on a video about Follett’s hiring generations of workers from the Slate Belt area.
Follett is one of 26 Greater Lehigh Valley manufacturers and 225 manufacturers from across the state participating in the annual event, which is sponsored by the Manufacturers Resource Center to get young people excited about manufacturing.
Each manufacturer teams with a group of middle school students from a nearby school to teach them what they do and to help the students create a video about their manufacturing process.
The contests began six years ago in the Lehigh Valley and has now spread across the state with more than a dozen regional contests.
Its aim is to address the critical shortage of skilled workers among manufacturers by improving the image of manufacturing careers and educating young people on jobs available to them in manufacturing.
Jack Pfunder, president and CEO of the MRC of the Lehigh Valley, said that after six years of growing the initiative across the state, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People are realizing that manufacturing can be a good career,” he said.
A total of 12 middle school/manufacturing teams took home awards at the event, which was attended by more than 900 people.
The winners were:
• Outstanding Overall Program: Lower Macungie Middle School – Mack Trucks
• Outstanding Editing: Saucon Valley Middle School – Victaulic
• Outstanding Creativity: Broughal Middle School – Piramal Critical Care
• Outstanding “COOL”: Northampton Area Middle School – C. F. Martin & Co.
• Outstanding Team Spirit: Northeast Middle School – Just Born Quality Confections
• Outstanding Educational Value: Orefield Middle School – Ocean Spray Cranberries
• Outstanding Videography: Nazareth Area Middle School – HindlePower
• Viewer’s Choice: Springhouse Middle School – Lutron Electronics
• Outstanding Outreach Plan: Southern Lehigh Middle School – IQE
• Outstanding Career Pathway: (TIE) Lawrence B. Morris School – Heritage Sign & Display AND Nitschmann Middle School – Stanley Black & Decker
• Outstanding Brand Placement: Raub Middle School – Crayola
Public voting is now underway online for the Viewer’s Choice Award for the contest for the Berks Schuylkill region and will end at midnight on March 1.
Videos for all of the regional contests can be viewed at www.whatssocool.org.