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By: Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development, CCEDC

Tell me what you think is so cool about manufacturing. There are a number of students in Carbon County’s middle schools that can answer that question and then some!

Created by the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) in Allentown, PA in 2013, the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contests draw entries from nearly 200 teams across Pennsylvania. The teams of students and their teacher coaches receive camera equipment, software, and professional guidance as they learn to script, record, and edit their video stories. The contest’s objective is to change students’ and their parents’ perceptions about manufacturing careers. 

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contests are supported regionally by their sponsors and partners. Production support is provided for several of the contests by PBS39 Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA. There are 12 contests held in Pennsylvania during the 2017-2018 school year. These contests involve students from 39 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – a combined area that represents more than 9 million of the state’s 12.7 million residents. The contest format also has been adopted by groups in 11 additional states. 

Locally, students from Lehighton, Palmerton, Jim Thorpe and Panther Valley Middle Schools visited manufacturers in Carbon County to see what they could find out about how these companies operate and exactly what does make them so cool?  In the process, the students and their coaches learned how to conduct interviews, shoot video using GoPro cameras supplied by MRC. From there, the students had help from PBS39 on learning how to edit the videos for presentation to the public.  The completed videos were then posted on MRC’s website where voting took place for the people’s choice award. 

The awards ceremony was held at Arts Quest in Bethlehem on February 27th with over 900 in attendance.  

I am proud to say that Palmerton Area Junior High’s team and their video from KME tied for first place in the Outstanding Educational Value category with Broughal Middle School.

In addition, Carbon Career and Technical Institute competed in Cupcake Wars with the other technical schools from the Lehigh Valley.  The cupcakes were presented on a ferris wheel and entries were judged by the Cake Boss staff.

We can be very proud of our students and teachers here in Carbon County.  They worked hard to compete against some much larger schools and did themselves and the whole county proud!