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Shapiro Administration Celebrates Winners of Statewide “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” Student Video Contest Awards

Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal invests in Pennsylvania’s workforce, including $6 million for registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. 

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger and Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary Dan Kuba joined students and manufacturing leaders from across the Commonwealth to announce the winners of the ‘What’s So Cool About Manufacturing’ Student Video Contest Awards hosted by the Manufacturers Resource Center.

What’s So Cool About Manufacturing is a series of 11 annual, regional contests in which students across Pennsylvania explore manufacturing careers and produce video profiles of companies.

“Congratulations to the winners, and every student team that submitted a video this year. The Shapiro Administration is proud of these efforts to show what’s so cool about manufacturing in Pennsylvania!” said Secretary Siger. “The talent and creativity our young people have displayed in creating these videos is amazing, and it makes me very confident about the future of Pennsylvania manufacturing,”

The winners of the sixth annual statewide What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Awards, and the manufacturers that were the subjects of the videos, are:

  • First Place: Broughal Middle School, Northampton County – featuring Weaver Popcorn
  • Second Place: Greater Johnstown High School, Cambria County – featuring JWF Industries
  • Third Place: Bangor Area Middle School, Northampton County – featuring C.F. Martin & Co., Inc. (Martin Guitar)
  • Statewide Viewers Choice Recognition: Chestnut Ridge High School, Bedford County – featuring Creative Composites Group. This video was recognized for garnering the largest number of regional vote totals across the state during three days of online voting by the public.

“Today’s celebration is a powerful example of why it’s so important to engage the upcoming workforce in Pennsylvania. These students, through their creative and innovative lens, have brought the manufacturing industry to life,” said L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker. “This contest highlights the crucial role of collaboration in shaping our future workforce. Congratulations to all participants and our award recipients for their remarkable contributions.”

A four-judge panel, representing eastern, central and western Pennsylvania, viewed 22 contestant entries for What’s So Cool About Manufacturing, representing a total of 155 student videos, to select the statewide award recipients.

“The goal of What’s So Cool has always been to make manufacturing attractive and cool in the eyes of middle school students so that a career in manufacturing and technical school education is on their radar,” said Rich Hobbs, President & CEO of Manufacturers Resource Center. “MRC commends the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to create and expand opportunities to build the strongest workforce in the nation.”

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Video Library houses 1,268 student videos featuring over 600 Pennsylvania manufacturers.

More than half of all Pennsylvania school districts have participated in What’s So Cool About Manufacturing since its inception in 2013, and the contest aligns with Governor Josh Shapiro’s emphasis on strengthening Pennsylvania’s workforce through increasing education and training opportunities.

Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal includes $600 million in new and expanded investments that will enhance DCED’s ability to implement Pennsylvania’s new ten-year Economic Development Strategy.

Since the start of his Administration, Governor Josh Shapiro has been focused on creating real opportunities for people to obtain good-paying jobs. That’s why the Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposal builds on the 2023-24 budget with bipartisan support for investments in workforce development, including $6 million for registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs

For more information on the Department of Labor & Industry, visit the L&I website or follow L&I on Facebook, X and, LinkedIn.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.

Governor’s Office,, 717.783.1116
Penny Ickes, DCED,

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