A Northampton County middle school won first place in a statewide student video contest spotlighting local manufacturers, followed by a Berks County middle school that took the second spot.
The winners are part of the first statewide “What’s So Cool about Manufacturing?” student video contest awards hosted by the Manufacturers Resource Center.
The top two schools are Northeast Middle School in Bethlehem, which took first place for its video of Atlas Machining & Welding Inc.; and Wilson West Middle School in Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County, which took second place for its video of Novipax.
Lionville Middle School of Chester County took third place for its video of ONExia Inc.
Members of the Gov. Wolf administration made the announcement at the Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg Wednesday.
“This program is a great way to connect manufacturers to the next generation of their workforce while providing students with a creative, educational, and fun way to get excited about future careers in manufacturing,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, in a statement.
This year’s contest featured a series of 12 annual regional video contests where middle school students across the state competed by creating video profiles of manufacturing companies in their region. The students explain what the companies do, meet the workers, and learn what types of careers the industry offers.
Winners from each region competed against one another for statewide awards for the first time this year. This contest included teams representing 22 school districts across the state.
Jack Pfunder, president and CEO of MRC, said this year’s contest had 178 videos made by students across the state.
The organization had wanted to do an annual contest and this year, the contest was big enough for it to happen.
“We’ve been talking about this for the past couple of years,” Pfunder said. “We expect it to continue to get bigger.”
Across the five counties that participate, the organization got about 90 percent of the middle schools already involved in the contest, which is now in its fifth year, he added.
He sees the contest as important for helping young people explore future careers in the field, particularly since there is a void of people entering the industry and a pipeline of workers that needs filling, he said.
“Companies are slowing down their growth because of it,” Pfunder said.
Many middle school students do not know what a job looks like, particularly one in manufacturing, which has had an outdated image, he said. The contest not only shows students what types of jobs manufacturing offers but also their friends, parents, teachers and school administrators.
With more awareness, interest is spreading to students interested in technical and manufacturing careers.
“We are getting increased enrollment in career and technical schools,” Pfunder said.