Ready to Vote: Manufacturers Engage Students One Video at a Time

The Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance is engaging students and promoting manufacturing with a twist by holding its third annual student video competition with the theme “Connecticut Manufacturing - Join the Evolution.” And your vote counts.
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The Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) is engaging students and promoting manufacturing with a twist. The non-profit organization includes a network of manufacturing companies from Connecticut to Massachusetts joining local schools and manufacturers to evolve tomorrow’s workforce.  

EAMA aims to accomplish that through its third annual student video competition with the theme “Connecticut Manufacturing - Join the Evolution.”

The competition pairs local high school students with manufacturers in the area and the teams are tasked with creating a video that showcases what that company does. Participating companies include Airgas, LBI, Collins and Jewell, Westminster Tool, Ensinger Precision Molding, Linemaster Switch, Jaypro Corporation, Web Industries, Freeport McMoran, Electric Boat, Incord, Alpha Q, Ivoryella, Bollore, Unicorr and Sound Manufacturing.

Students have already begun working with their manufacturing partners conducting interviews, touring facilities and will ultimately work together to produce a video that represents the essence of that company.

EAMA mirrored its first competition after a similar event for middle school students hosted by the “Dream It. Do It” partnership in Pennsylvania, an organization that began with the flagship video competition titled “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” What started as a single competition in 2013 has since spread across the state to several schools and companies and inspired EAMA to host one of its own.

“We connected with Lehigh Valley and used them as a model for the first year and once we started with that, we’ve adapted it and branched out to new themes every year since,” says Mary Fitzgerald, president of Acme Wire Products and event coordinator for the competition.

Working with high school students and member companies, EAMA’s version of the event has transformed into a grassroots, volunteer-based competition that gives students full control over the projects, instructing them only to reflect the theme.

“This year’s theme is more focused on the evolution of advanced manufacturing, changes in manufacturing processes, equipment and skills,” Fitzgerald says. “It’s important to convey to the students and to the community that manufacturing has to evolve, both internally and externally, in order to sustain itself and become more competitive.”

Culminating in a film festival in the spring, the final videos are screened, judged by an expert panel and cash prizes are awarded to the winners. Before the judges determine winning teams for Outstanding Videography, Best Narration, Outstanding Educational Value, Most Creative and Best Overall, viewers have the opportunity to vote for their favorite video online for the Viewers Choice Awards.

This year, EAMA partners with video and advertising production agency Astor Place in Connecticut, engaging students in video production techniques by offering a training session on how to create a visually compelling story about manufacturing.

EAMA’s primary mission is to promote workforce development by creating a community around local manufacturing. They start by working to change the perception of the industry to attract the best and the brightest students. Secondly, the network of 60 manufacturing companies form a unified voice in developing and sponsoring advanced manufacturing curriculum.

According to Fitzgerald, the contest is a way to incorporate those goals and demonstrate how both manufacturing technology and perceptions are evolving. 

“With our efforts working with the community and the schools, we believe that the perception of manufacturing is also evolving, where students are seeing first-hand the different opportunities in manufacturing,” she says.

Video voting goes live for the public from March 31 to April 19 online at eamainc.com. The video competition screening is set to take place April 26 at Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut. For more information, visit eamainc.com.




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