Sharspville Area Middle School

Students Learn What’s Cool About Manufacturing

SHARON, Pa. – The West Central contest of What’s So Cool About Manufacturing for middle schools in Mercer County is in full swing. Six schools in Mercer County, paired with a manufacturer partner, are competing this year.

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing a student video contest raises awareness within the schools and the community about manufacturing careers through the eyes of seventh- and eight-grade students. Guided by their teacher coach, teams conduct research, shoot video at their featured manufacturing company and edit their video for final submission.

Final video projects are eligible for a number of award categories, including Viewer’s Choice selected by online voting. Last year, Sharpsville Area Middle School won the Viewers’ Choice award with 3,494 votes.

The program, which began with teacher coach training in October, culminates with a three-day online voting period for school videos March 23 to 25. Winners are honored at an awards ceremony April 1.

Schools taking part in the program, along with their manufacturing partners are:

  • Greenville Jr./Sr. High School – Hodge Foundry Inc., Greenville.
  • Hickory High School – Miller Industries, Hermitage.
  • Jamestown Jr./Sr. High School – Select Metal Litho, Greenville.
  • Lakeview Middle School – Technical Precision, Hadley.
  • Mercer Middle-High School – Sharon Tube Co., Wheatland.
  • West Middlesex Jr./Sr. High School – G.W. Becker Inc., Hermitage.

In 2014, the Lehigh Valley’s Manufacturers Resource Center developed the contest to help change perceptions of manufacturing careers, according to a release. Last year, there were 15 contests throughout the Commonwealth with 239 schools paired with 239 manufacturers. The Viewer’s Choice awards accrued 902,520 votes.

The Northwest Industrial Resource Center in Erie is producing the program again this year, along with support from The Business Journal, Penn-Northwest Development Corp., West Central Job Partnership, Western Reserve Public Media, SCP Group, Get 2 Work Productions, Penn State Shenango, Solar Atmospheres, Laurel Technical Institute and the Mercer County Career Center. Faculty and students from the career center are designing and producing the medals for this year’s award-winning teams.

Top winners among each of the contests will advance to the Statewide Awards April 29 in Harrisburg.

Pictured: In 2019, Mia Aley, Lisa Oliver-Lapikas, Carmen Alfredo, Nick Bell, Ericka Grandy, Nolan Lapikas, JoLee Lundquest, Jlia McConahy and Conner Rogers from Sharpsville Area Middle School were the winning team in the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.