by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

School is out for the summer, but still a good opportunity to introduce a new program the NWIRC will be launching in Erie County for the 2017-2018 school year. We will be looking for middle schools, manufacturers, and community partners to participate in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest (WSCM). The program is an expansion of the Dream It Do It state-wide initiative with the goal to change the perception of manufacturing in our community and introduce 7th and 8th grade students to cool manufacturing careers. This program began in Lehigh Valley by our sister-Center, the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), and is now in its 4th year of success.

WSCM matches a team of 7th/8th graders and teacher coach with a nearby manufacturer to research, interview, and film for a 2-minute video to capture the cool things about manufacturing. Students will spend time planning, filming, and receive professional editing training to create the final product. The actual work will begin in October with a teacher coach training and providing the team with all the equipment and tools they need. The program culminates with an Awards Gala in March 2018. “Viewers Choice” is one of the featured awards with the winner selected by online voting. This past school year, participation across the state included 123 middle school teams with more than 500,000 online votes and 3,300 attending the various award ceremonies. This program is most certainly creating awareness and changing the perception of manufacturing careers among students, teachers, and parents.

NWIRC was a community partner for North Central’s WSCM contest this past season and we are excited to roll the program out in another part of the 13-county region we serve…with hopes of expanding even further in the coming years. For now, we are starting the work in Erie County and looking to engage companies who are interested in partnering with NWIRC to sponsor this worthwhile program. With the assistance of our community partner, Career Street, we are working to gain commitment for a team from the middle schools in Erie County. Soon after, we will match these teams with a manufacturer interested in opening their doors to showcase their company and ‘what’s so cool about manufacturing’ for the team’s video.

If you are interested in getting involved, from being a sponsor to just spreading the word, please let us know by sending an email to Click here for more sponsorship information.


Check out student videos from previous contests throughout Pennsylvania here.