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The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) is proud to announce their inaugural year of a regional “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest for middle school students.

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” initiative gives 8th graders from schools within Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties the opportunity to connect directly with local manufacturers, document their experiences and present them in an educational and “cool” way through video and social media. The program also capitalizes on the latest trend in talent-based TV shows – online viewer voting – to get thousands of other youngsters in on the excitement.

The contest was created to modernize the image of manufacturing and encourage students to consider manufacturing career paths. In its first year, NEPIRC’s contest will field 13 middle school teams, each partnered with a host manufacturer. Outfitted with a GoPro camera, faculty coach, curiosity and creativity, each team will tour its host manufacturer’s facility, interview employees and explore the company’s products and processes. Teams later edit their footage and translate what they find to be “cool” about that company into a short video. Other students, faculty, parents and citizens all throughout the region then place online “votes” for their favorite videos using methods akin to many of today’s “idol” and “voice” television shows.

“We are very excited to launch our first “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” competition in our region,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President/CEO. “The program’s success is spreading across the state and around the country because it promotes STEM education, updates the image of manufacturing and creates a new understanding of opportunities within Pennsylvania’s largest industry. We are very grateful to our schools, regional manufacturers and partners for helping make this program a success.”

Student video submissions will be posted on the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” website – Videos will become open to the public for Viewer’s Choice Award voting in mid-March. Judges will determine winning videos in a variety of other categories as well. On March 27th, students, parents, educators, manufacturing leaders, community sponsors, local legislators and project partners will gather at Lackawanna College, a major sponsor of the program, for an award ceremony to acknowledge winning teams.

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