What’s so cool about manufacturing? For school-age filmmakers in the Pittsburgh region, that’s both a question and an invitation to learn about their local economy.

On Wednesday night, the nonprofit workforce development organization Catalyst Connection hosted its annual reception and video contest at Heinz Field. The theme of the evening, attended by more than 650 students, families and business leaders, was “Industry 4.0 – a bright future,” referring to the rising trend of automation and data-sharing in traditional manufacturing systems.

Now in its fourth year, the video contest paired 20 manufacturing companies with 20 Pittsburgh-area middle school teams. Students were given access to the staff and inner workings of the companies to get an inside perspective. They then produced short videos profiling what is unique and cool about the work.

“We are working to accelerate the pace of advanced manufacturing technology adoption, and build a world-class advanced manufacturing workforce,” said Petra Mitchell, president and CEO of Catalyst Connection. “Together, these efforts focused on Industry 4.0 are creating a bright future and are helping to position the Greater Pittsburgh region as one of the top innovation cities in the world.”

The videos were voted on over a five day period and received more than 34,000 votes.

Here are the winners and a selection of their videos:

Best Manufacturing Message
1st Place – Moon School District with Seegrid Corporation

2nd Place – Canon-McMillan School District with All-Clad Metalcrafters

Outstanding Creativity
1st Place – Norwin School District with Cleaveland/Price, Inc.

2nd Place – Burrell School District with Natrona Bottling Company

Viewer’s Choice
1st Place – Burgettstown Area School District with Prion Manufacturing

2nd Place – Elizabeth Forward School District with DMI Companies

Best Promotion
Winner – Elizabeth Forward School District with DMI Companies

Exceptional Videography
1st Place – South Fayette School District with Giffin Interiors & Fixture

2nd Place – Freeport Area School District with Belleflex Technologies

Rookie School Award
Winner – Cornell School District with Aero Tech Designs