“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Announces 3rd Annual Statewide Awards

On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” (WSCM) student video program will conclude its seventh season with the “Best of PA” Statewide Awards Event. Due to the unprecedented challenges presented by social distancing, this year’s event will stream ‘live from home’ on YouTube, and will include 22 teams competing for first, second and third place awards.

A five judge panel, representing eastern, central and western Pennsylvania, viewed 22 entries, representing 13 regional contests across Pennsylvania, to select the statewide award recipients.

“We are so proud of the students and so excited we will still be able to celebrate the Best of PA videos, even with all that is going on,” said Karen Buck, Manager of Workforce Initiatives Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC). “The continued success of the What’s So Cool program validates its value to both STEM and STEAM education and really highlights the necessity for these initiatives, both statewide and nationwide, to help plan for a robust economic future.”

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest, which originated in the Lehigh Valley and is the brainchild of MRC, has garnered over 3,000,000 combined votes by the public during regional online voting dates since its inception in 2013, and more than 50% of Pennsylvania school districts have participated in the program.

The WSCM Student Video Contest gives students the opportunity to interact with local manufacturers as they gain new perspectives about careers and technology, record their
experiences and present them in an educational and “cool” way through documentary video production. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” program includes a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved lesson plan that is in use across the Commonwealth. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students toward considering manufacturing career paths to create a 21st century workforce.

This season’s original 16 participating regional contests in Pennsylvania were Berks Schuylkill, Central Susquehanna, Chester Delaware, Lehigh Valley, North Central, Northeast, Northern Tier, Northwest, Philadelphia Region, Pittsburgh Central, Pittsburgh East, Pittsburgh North, Pittsburgh South, PA Forest & Oil, South Central, and West Central.

Funding for the regional pilot contests is provided by the PA Department of Community & Economic Development. Funding for the statewide Awards show is provided by Platinum Sponsor: Nestlé Waters North America, Gold Sponsors: PA Manufacturing Extension Partnership and RETTEW, and Silver Sponsors: Catalyst Connection, MANTEC and Chester County Economic Development Council. Regional Program Partners: Catalyst Connection, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Chester County Economic Development Council, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Innovative Manufacturers’ Center, Manufacturers Resource Center, MANTEC, North Central Workforce Development Board, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, NWIRC, and The Foundation of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce.

For more information regarding the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest please visit: WhatsSoCool.org/BestofPA, www.WhatsSoCool.org, or follow on Twitter.

Member News- May 27, 2020

  • Geisinger will be hosting Back to Business Town Hall- part two, on June 4th from 11 am-12 pm.  This event will feature Dr. Stanley Martin, Infectious Diseases; Allison Hess, VP, Health & Wellness; Brion Lieberman, VP, Human Resources.  Register for the event here. 
    This Virtual Meeting will be taped and added to their business resources landing page. On the landing page is a place for businesses to submit questions. The email will go to Geisinger’s Community Wellness staff and they will respond.  Any questions that they answer will be published to the page.
  • The Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation announces grant opportunities for local nonprofit organizations serving the greater Bloomsburg area. Grants will be awarded from the Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation Fund and the Hartman/Robbins/Stroup Fund. This competitive grant round begins now and will continue into July. Approximately $10,000 is available.  Only 501(c)(3) nonprofit and governmental organizations are eligible to apply and 100% of requested funding from the above noted funds must be invested within Bloomsburg and surrounding areas. Individuals are not eligible to apply.  Grant applications must be completed and submitted through a web-based program. Prior to beginning the grant application process, applicants are encouraged to watch a short tutorial. Interested applicants can find the tutorial and instructions for completing grant application online by visiting csgiving.org, clicking on “Receive” and then “Apply for a Grant”. Look for information under the heading “Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation”.  Grant requests must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on May 28, 2020. 
  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation announces their new online donation platform has officially launched. This update will enhance the overall donor experience and better connect people to funds that support causes that they care about in the community. As usual, other forms of donations will still be accepted via mail or by stopping by the Foundation office. Much work has been put into this new system, and they look forward to the efficiencies and functionality it will bring to donors, fundholders, and staff! Visit csgiving.org and click on the donate leaf to view the new page. Please contact Katie or Kara with any questions.



Free Webinar to Provide Tips on Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness

Your Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan was approved, now what? The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center is hosting a free webinar on June 2nd at 10 a.m. to help business owners maximize loan forgiveness. Jeffrey Berdahl, CPA, Shareholder with RLB Accountants, will discuss the following topics: general rules of the program, program updates, tips for forgiveness, how to track your expenses.  A Q&A session will follow the presentation.  Click here to register.  

Legislative Program to Discuss State Budget, Business Recovery

Facing a projected $5 billion revenue shortfall, lawmakers in Harrisburg are working on a short-term state budget. The Legislature has also advanced a number of bills to support businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Information on these efforts will be provided by our elected officials at the Chamber’s annual State Legislative Program, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities

Senator John Gordner, Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard, and Alex Halper with the PA Chamber of Business & Industry are scheduled to participate.

The program will be held Thursday, June 11th from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.  This event is typically held annually as a breakfast program, but due to the current situation, this year’s program will be virtual. Cost for the program is $15 for members and $25 for non-members.  Register for the event online or by calling the Chamber office at 570-784-2522.  The Zoom meeting link will be emailed upon registration confirmation.

National Letter to Congress Urges Limited Liability Protections During Pandemic

With content provided by the PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The PA Chamber signed on to a U.S. Chamber-led letter last week with chambers of commerce from throughout the nation, urging Congress to pass timely, temporary and targeted liability relief legislation without delay.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania healthcare professionals on the front lines of combating the virus, and critical businesses, including those producing much-needed personal protective equipment have been operating without liability protections in place. This unprecedented situation has left employers vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits, a trend which, if unchecked, could endanger economic recovery and the return to work for millions of Americans.

The coalition letter expressed that the pandemic has driven the need for Congress to provide a safe harbor – one that “truly holds bad actors accountable, but that protects those employers who are working to follow public health guidance.” Specifically, the letter asked that the protections cover:

  • Businesses that work to follow government guidelines against COVID-19 exposure claims
  • Healthcare providers and facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 response
  • Manufacturers that have repurposed production and distribution to provide PPE, sanitizers, and other needed countermeasures
  • Companies that have donated their stock of supplies to hospitals and medical professionals
  • Public companies that could face securities lawsuits, including those driven largely on stock price drops resulting from the global pandemic under the spurious assertion that management failed to warn investors.

The full letter is available here.