Tuesday night’s awards show for the fourth “What’s So Cool about Manufacturing?” student video contest revealed how much the event has drawn attention to the industry.
This year’s event drew more audience members, more students, more companies and even a cupcake competition.
For the third year in a row, Northampton Area School District took home the Viewers’ Choice award, this time for its video of Dynalene in Whitehall Township.
The annual video contest offers eighth-grade students the chance to tour manufacturing facilities in the Greater Lehigh Valley and showcase what it’s like to work in the manufacturing industry by creating short videos of people at work inside the facilities.
This year’s contest grew to 31 teams and 200 students and attracted about 900 people to ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem to hear the results. This year’s online voting for the Lehigh Valley contest ran Feb. 22-Feb. 24 at www.dreamitdoitpa.com.
“We are all here to help answer the question, ‘What’s So Cool about Manufacturing?’ ” said Jack Pfunder, CEO of Manufacturers Resource Center, Hanover Township, Lehigh County. “It seems easy to do a 2 1/2-minute video, but it’s not.”
The program’s success is spreading across Pennsylvania and helping to increase awareness of the career paths available in manufacturing, he said. The program helps promote science, technology, engineering and math education and the opportunities that exist in these companies, he said.
“Really, all we want is to show them there’s an option out there,” Pfunder said.
MRC has promoted the program with partners at PBS-39, Da Vinci Science Center and Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, all of which have helped it become successful, he added.
Laura McHugh, executive producer at PBS-39/WLVT in Bethlehem, led the award presentations for the following winning schools and companies:
• Outstanding Videography: East Stroudsburg J.T. Lambert Intermediate School and Imperial Machine and Tool Co. of Blairstown Township, Warren County, N.J.
• Outstanding Editing (tie): Nazareth Area School District and Victaulic of Forks Township, Northampton Area School District and Dynalene of Whitehall Township.
• Outstanding Creativity: Bethlehem Nitschmann Middle School and Piramal Critical Care Inc. of Hanover Township, Northampton County.
• Outstanding Cool: Parkland Orefield Middle School and Wacker Chemicals Corp. of Upper Macungie Township.
• Outstanding Team Spirit: Allentown Trexler Middle School and Atlas Machining and Welding of Northampton.
• Outstanding Marketing Plan: Pleasant Valley School District and United Envelope of Coolbaugh Township.
• Outstanding Brand Placement: Bethlehem Northeast Middle School and Follett Corp. of Forks Township.
• Outstanding Educational Value (tie): Northern Lehigh School District and ProtoCAM of Upper Macungie Township, Saucon Valley School District and C.F. Martin Guitar & Co. of Upper Nazareth Township.
• Viewers’ Choice: Northampton Area School District and Dynalene.
• Overall Program: Wilson Area School District and Orbel Corp. of Palmer Township.
Almost 110,000 votes were cast. The Viewers’ Choice award is the only category open to the public for voting. Three judges gave the final votes for the other winners.
Aside from the winning companies, a number of big manufacturers in the Lehigh Valley were spotlighted, including Nestle Waters, Mack Trucks, Lutron Technologies, Crayola, Ocean Spray, ATAS International and B. Braun.
“The work’s getting better every year,” said Terri Haddad, senior vice president, production and education for PBS-39/WLVT. “I’m knocked out by how creative you are. We’re helping to develop a new generation of digital storytellers.”
A highlight this year was Cupcake Wars, with managers from Carlo’s Bakery at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem serving as the judges for the student-created culinary treats.
Five career and technical schools used their woodworking departments to build platforms to display the cupcakes created by culinary students at each school. The end result featured displays filled with 1,500 cupcakes for a dessert reception.
Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School won The Sweet Manufacturing Award grand prize for overall taste, with Lehigh County Technical Institute of Schnecksville as a runner-up for its cupcake display.
Dennis Davin, the state Department of Community & Economic Development Secretary, spoke about the importance of workforce solutions to invest in manufacturing and encourage students’ interest in the field through events such as this one.
“It’s been reported that by 2025, 2 million manufacturing jobs may go unfilled,” Davin said. “It would be devastating to the economy. It’s essential that manufacturing has a proactive approach in place to establish a pipeline.”