(L) Michael Batchelor, President, The Erie Community Foundation and (R) Laurie Knoll, Marketing Specialist at NWIRC

Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC) recently attended a reception to receive a Helping Today grant of $8100 from The Erie Community Foundation (ECF). This award will assist the expansion of the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing student video contest within Erie County. The theme of this cycle of Helping Today grants aims to strengthen our community with a focus on people. In his remarks, ECF President, Mike Batchelor, recognized the importance of a program like What’s So Cool to create awareness of career opportunities because of an often apparent disconnect between those in need of jobs and companies in need of workforce candidates.

“The goal of What’s So Cool is to create an awareness of cool manufacturing careers in our own back yard,” said NWIRC Marketing Specialist, Laurie Knoll. The program pairs a middle school team of 7th and 8th grade students and teacher coach, with a local manufacturer. Over the course of 5-6 months, the teams research the company, conduct onsite filming, and create a video showcasing careers and job opportunities. To help spread awareness throughout the community, there is an online voting period planned in February 2019 for selection of the Viewer’s Choice award winner that is announced at the awards ceremony in March, along with other category winners.

NWIRC is thankful to The Erie Community Foundation and their donors for support of this program and is excited to have ECF as a community partner this coming school year. In addition to the ECF grant, What’s So Cool is supported by the participating manufacturers and business sponsors. Announcement of the participating schools, featured manufacturers, and sponsors will be coming soon.

For more information about the program or to get involved, please contact Laurie Knoll at (814) 217-6066 or lknoll@nwirc.org.