API Shows Students Why Manufacturing Is Cool

“What’s so cool about manufacturing?”

That’s the question students from Exeter Township Junior High School in Reading asked the team at API — and they used their answers to produce a video for the annual “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest.

The Allentown-based Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) launched the contest in 2013 to change students’ perceptions and generate excitement about manufacturing careers. MRC is a nonprofit organization focused on helping small and mid-size manufacturing businesses succeed. It supports companies in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh, Northampton, Schuylkill, Carbon and Berks counties.

MRC received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Discovered in PA, Developed in PA” program to create the program. Today, the contest receives entries from teams across Pennsylvania, and other states have created similar competitions based on the Pennsylvania model.

Competing teams of students and teacher coaches receive camera equipment and software to produce profiles of manufacturing companies. They also receive professional guidance in writing scripts, recording and editing their video stories. This year, 21 middle schools in Berks and Schuylkill Counties created videos featuring 21 local manufacturers.

American Polarizers, Inc., has participated in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest for three years, first with Reading’s Wilson West Middle School in 2019 and with Exeter Township in 2020 and 2021. The Wilson video earned the “Outstanding Career Pathway Award,” and this year’s Exeter Township video was named “Outstanding Overall Program.”

The two-minute API video features footage of the manufacturing facility, along with clips of the company’s team explaining what they do and why they value their work. The student videographers learned about the many applications for API’s products, as well the jobs involved in creating products for specific applications.

Chelsey Rodriguez, a production worker, told students about the production process, including her role in laser-cutting manufactured material.

API President Jeff Snyder told the students that working well as a team is important to success in manufacturing.

“Manufacturing really thrives when you have a good team working together to produce things,” he said.

“We have a really great crew here,” said Anthony Canepa, a production worker. “I’ve been here 26 years, and it feels like my line of work and what I do for a living has changed more than 10 times.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year,” he said. “And that’s a great thing.”

“Our product goes all over the world, and it’s a challenge to do new products for all these companies,” said production worker Marisol Oyola.

“When you know where it’s going and what it’s going into, you know you’re making a difference,” Canepa added.

Watch all three “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” videos featuring API.

2019 Contest video

2020 contest video

Learn more about the program here:

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