Manufacturing Day kicks off 40 Student-Created Video Projects about Local Manufacturers

by Tom Reed, Catalyst Connection

Manufacturing Day is a national celebration each year on the first Friday in October. In 2017, 2,846 events were posted on the MFGDAY website, which largely consisted of manufacturing companies opening their doors to offer a tour to local students to see what happens inside a manufacturing facility. This a great opportunity for thousands of students to learn about modern manufacturing firsthand but it is still only a small percentage of the millions of children in the US that do not have a true understanding of what manufacturing looks like. Catalyst Connection chose Manufacturing Day as the official kickoff of our annual Explore the New Manufacturing Student Video Contest. This is the third year of the contest that pairs a middle school student team with a local manufacturing company to create a video with the theme, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?”

The contest has grown to 40 teams grouped into three regions of southwestern Pennsylvania. It kicks off with training for each team’s teacher/advisor on the basics of video creation and editing. This training was offered in each of the three regions by local college or university staff with expertise in video production. Point State Park University trained teachers in the central region, California University of Pennsylvania trained teachers in the southern region and Penn Highlands Community College trained students in the eastern region. A highlight for the teams at the training is the official reveal of which manufacturing company they will be paired. Teams then set up visits at their manufacturing partner locations. The videos are completed in about three months and displayed publically where viewers vote for their favorites.

Student Video Contest 2017

Ductmate Industries is participating in the Student Video Contest for the second year. Ductmate’s President and CEO, Ray Yeager recall’s last year’s process, “We brought the kids in and they interviewed us. They met with a number of people, both in the office and in the factory. They also videotaped our manufacturing process and put this together into a video. Then the student promoted the video to get the most votes by viewers.” In 2016, nearly 50,000 votes were cast for the 28 videos that students created. The Explore the New Manufacturing Student Video Contest will conclude with a recognition ceremony in each region where awards will be presented for People’s Choice (most votes), Best Manufacturing Message, Best Marketing Plan and Most Creative.

Catalyst Connection’s Explore the New Manufacturing Student Video Contest was created in conjunction with similar video contests across Pennsylvania and published on

About Catalyst Connection

Catalyst Connection is a private not-for-profit organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsyl­vania. We provide consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Penn­sylvania, accelerating revenue growth and improved productivity. Through active collaboration with our clients and the manufacturing community at large, we contribute to the growth, vibrancy, and ongoing robustness of manufacturing in our region.

Catalyst Connection is supported, in part, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, and by the National Institute of Standards and Technol­ogy’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership. For more information call 1-888-887-7472 or go to