BCTC Awarded Grant Funding to Boost Awareness of Manufacturing Careers

The Bedford County Technical Center (BCTC), 21st Century Community Learning Center Consortium and Bedford County Development Center (BCDA) are partnering on a $200,000 Manufacturing Training to Career grant that will bring funding towards two separate, but complimentary pieces: the implementation of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” video contest and a parallel community awareness campaign.

The ““What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” (WSCM) video contest will be implemented in ten central Pennsylvania schools representing more than 10,000 students – six in Bedford County in year one of the program and four additional sites in Blair, Fulton or Huntingdon counties in year two.

The evolution of manufacturing has created exceptional high-tech career opportunities, many of which are available in the region’s companies. BCTC plans to highlight these companies and careers, along with the training path available to young workers.

“We are excited about the opportunities the Manufacturing Training to Career grant will provide the students, educators, and employers in Bedford County,” said Michael O’Dellick, Administrative Director, Bedford County Technical Center. “The grant will serve a dual purpose in the county – focused student engagement in local manufacturing and community awareness.” 

Managed by BCDA, the awareness campaign is designed to promote high-tech career opportunities within regional manufacturing companies and will run in parallel with the ““What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” video contest.  

“Manufacturing presents an opportunity to honor our heritage as makers and innovators who helped build America”, noted Bette Slayton, BCDA President & CEO. “These are stable paying jobs with benefits and opportunities for advancement”, Slayton said.

Lyn Skillington, 21st Century Community Learning Center Consortium co-project director, will play an instrumental role as project manager for the WSCM video contest. “We hope that WSCM and the awareness campaign will inspire, educate and empower the next generation of manufacturing employees in Bedford County and shed light on the highly technology driven industry that needs a skilled labor workforce,” Skillington said.

The grant was announced by Neil Weaver, Acting Secretary of the PA Dept of Community and Economic Development at last week’s Manufacturing Day, an annual event that is popular with Bedford County’s students and business community. 

The Tech Center, BCDA, Rockland Manufacturing and other local manufacturers partnered to host Manufacturing Day at Rockland. The event provides youth the opportunity for direct interaction with local employers. More than 300 students participated in Friday’s event.