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“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” Announces 2024 Berks Schuylkill Awards

“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” Announces 2024 Berks Schuylkill Awards

by Manufacturers Resource Center

Online votes tally 147,945, and 1,000 people attended the downtown Reading celebration.

Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is proud to announce the award recipients for the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing® Berks Schuylkill Student Video Contest awards, which featured 26 regional middle schools and 26 manufacturers. The ceremony was held on Monday, March 15, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, with 1,000 people in attendance.

Over a three-day voting period, the contest, which featured two-minute videos produced by each student team, received 147,945 votes. The video with the most votes received the “Viewers Choice Award.” Student videos were also reviewed by a panel of judges for awards in 11 other categories, including Outstanding Career Pathway and Outstanding Creativity.

“Eight years ago, we expanded the What’s So Cool contest to the Berks Schuylkill region,” said Karen Buck, Director, Workforce Initiatives at MRC. “We are thrilled to have had another strong season with great community support and 26 teams who raised awareness about cool career opportunities right here in our region. We are proud of each individual team’s work and collaboration and the growing engagement from the community through voting and attendance. Great job, students!”

The 2024 video contest award winners are:

  1. OUTSTANDING OVERALL: Conrad Weiser Middle School/Reading Bakery Systems
  2. OUTSTANDING EDITING: Tri-Valley Jr./Sr. High School/Blaschak Anthracite
  3. OUTSTANDING CREATIVITY: Exeter Township Junior High School/PhytogenX, Inc.
  4. OUTSTANDING COOL: Boyertown Middle School West/Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc.
  5. OUTSTANDING TEAM SPIRIT: Reading Southwest Middle School/Penske Racing Shocks​
  6. OUTSTANDING EDUCATIONAL VALUE: Blue Mountain Middle School/Hexcel Corporation​
  7. OUTSTANDING VIDEOGRAPHY: D.H.H. Lengel Middle School/Cardinal Systems, Inc.
  8. VIEWERS CHOICE: Mahanoy Area Jr./Sr. High School/EMD Electronics
  9. OUTSTANDING OUTREACH PLAN: Tamaqua Area Middle School/Hydro
  10. OUTSTANDING CAREER PATHWAY: Wilson Southern Middle School/PtP Spanco, Inc.
  11. OUTSTANDING BRAND PLACEMENT: Schuylkill Haven Area Middle School/Prysmian Group-Schuylkill Haven
  12. BEST CTE STORY: Minersville Jr./Sr. High School/​Ashland Technologies, Inc.

Visit for more information, and follow them on social media @WSCMBerksSch.

The program’s continued success and growth are attributed to the efforts the teachers and students have put forth in the community since its inception. MRC and its partners, Kutztown Small Business Development Center, eMediaWorks, Sahl Communications, Inc., and the many community sponsors, remain committed to the sustainability of the program.

Educational media resources, GoPro Camera kits, professional media training, materials, and project costs were funded and made possible by the following:

Leadership Sponsor: and WiM

Technology Sponsor: Berks County Workforce Development Board

Event Sponsor: Customers Bank

Platinum Sponsors: Berks County Industrial Development Authority, East Penn Manufacturing Company, EMD Electronics, Reading Truck, and Univest Financial

Gold Sponsors: American Crane & Equipment Corporation, Clearly Clean, County of Berks, DeLux Dental Laboratory, FirstEnergy Foundation, Fulton Bank, Hydro, M&T Bank and Wilmington Trust, MISCO Products, Mitsubishi Chemical Group – Advanced Materials, Reading Area Community College, Reading Bakery Systems, Tompkins Community Bank, Unique Snacks, Viwinco, Inc., and Weidenhammer

Silver Sponsors: Aerotek, American Polarizers, Inc, Arkema, Ashland Technologies, Inc., Blaschak Anthracite, Brentwood Industries, Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, Cardinal Systems, Inc., Eagle Metals, Fromm Electric, Gage Personnel, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Hexcel, Hubric Resources, Materion, Morgan Truck,  Penn State Berks, Prysmian Group-Schuylkill Haven, Sterman Masser Inc, Sweet Street Desserts, Inc., and The Rose Corporation

Bronze Sponsors: Berks Career & Technology Center, Berks County Intermediate Unit, PhytogenX, Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center, Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, Schuylkill County Intermediate Unit, and Schuylkill Technology Center

Media Sponsors: BCTV, Lamar, Lehigh Valley Business Journal, Reading Eagle, and WFMZ 69 News

Developed by the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), the WSCM program is a video-based educational tool that increases awareness of career paths and technology in manufacturing through “peer marketing” (kids telling kids what’s so cool about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the What’s So Cool Website and shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms. The MRC community career awareness program has expanded across the Commonwealth and the country.

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” comprehensive manufacturing video library was created by MRC and WSCM PA in 2020 and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED). The interactive library of the who’s who in Pennsylvania manufacturing, garnered from the yearly regional contests, is intended to serve as an educational resource for anyone curious about manufacturing in Pennsylvania. The library can be accessed through the website and contains 1,128 student videos featuring over 600 Pennsylvania manufacturers.

This contest allows students to connect with local manufacturers, document their experiences, and present them in an educational and “cool” way. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students towards manufacturing career paths, and CTE and STEM education. Original funding for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” was furnished by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED).

For 35 years, the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies, and invest more effectively in their existing human capital. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program and the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. MRC is dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunities in eastern Pennsylvania’s Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties. Learn more at www.mrcpa.