BEDFORD COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)–Six Bedford County schools are showcasing the manufacturing industry through their video projects for the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing video contest.

This contest was created in 2013, but this year is the first that the county has participated in. The contest encourages students about the numerous opportunities in manufacturing.

Students are placed in teams and work to produce a video profile of one of the manufacturers in the county. They conduct interviews with the staff and answer the question, what makes manufacturing so cool?

Advisor for Northern Bedford Middle School project Brett Keith said the county catapulted this project because of a survey. The survey found that only two percent of students saw manufacturing as a career opportunity.

“A survey that was done noted that of graduating seniors, only about two percent wanted to go into manufacturing beyond their high school term,” Keith said. “So they wanted to focus on the different types of manufacturing.”

The schools are touring Rockland Manufacturing, Bedford Reinforced Plastics, Lampire Biological Laboratories, Mission Critical Solutions, The Organic Snack Company, and Bedford Counties. When students tour the facilities, they’ll learn and see the process.

Everett Area Middle School is profiling Lampire Biological Laboratories, a biotech life sciences company that produces biological reagents used in pharmaceutical industries. Vice President of Operation and Quality Gary Klinger said it’s essential to engage the students early and show them the non-traditional sides to manufacturing.

“We want to engage people to start seeing how we should be doing manufacturing in the US. By engaging the younger generations, we want to make sure that they see there are opportunities here,” Klinger said. “They get to look at maybe a non-traditional manufacturer such as us. Most people don’t think of biotechnology as manufacturing.”

The Northern Bedford Middle School students toured Bedford Candies manufacturer in Osterburg. They learned about the confectionary sides of manufacturing.

Owner of Bedford Candies, Adam Wiley, said it’s helpful to show students the building process for a food product. He believes these kinds of projects can change the misconceptions about manufacturing, that it doesn’t involve heavy medals.

“I think many people think of manufacturing as working with medals or steel and pharm tech, to where we’re on the food industry, the food side of that,” Wiley said. “So it gives a different light on light manufacturing versus heavy manufacturing.”

Once students gather the video and interviews. They then edit, write, and create a two-minute video piece about their company. Students complete this part throughout February and March.

The main message they want to get across to students and the Bedford Community about the multiple opportunities. Advisor for Everett Area Middle School Sabine Debski said manufacturing is an underrated industry. Hopefully, students understand you can go straight into the workforce.

“We have the Bedford County Tech Center where you can go and learn about welding & walk out of high school with your high school degree and go right into the job field,” Debski said. “Or if you want to go to school to be a veterinarian, you can do that and come work for Lampire. There are just so many different opportunities involved with manufacturing that a lot of people don’t realize.”

The students producing these pieces are already impressed and encouraged about the industry. Producer for the Everett Area Middle School video Kaylee Kauffman said she felt inspired and thinks she might want to work there one day.

“I feel like I got more education,” Kauffman said. “Actually, I was thinking about it when we were walking around, I actually want to work here one day!”

Northern Bedford Middle School seventh-grader Lilly Barnes said she was impressed by the process of making all the sweet goods. She said it’s important for people to realize how interactive manufacturing can be.

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“I feel we need to tell people that it’s more interesting,” Barnes said. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s a job you need to get.’ There’s more interacting than you get there, and do your job.”

Once these projects are completed, the public can vote from Wednesday, April 12th to Friday, April 14th on their website. Awards will be presented on Monday, April 24th.