STEM Programming for School Districts

Catalyst Connection’s Explore the New Manufacturing Initiative offers a variety of manufacturing career exploration programs and activities for school districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our mission is to expose local students to the amazing career opportunities manufacturing offers within our region! 

All of our programs are currently grant funded and come at no cost to the school district. 

Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (MIC) is our longest running STEM program. This program allows a group of students to go into a local manufacturing company as “outside consultants” and tackle a real-world problem provided by the company. Once the students have reached a solution to the company’s real-world problem, they present their findings. This gives students and teachers a great, project-based learning experience while providing relevant real-world experience.


The Industrial Manufacturing Technician Pre-Apprenticeship helps high school students begin a pathway to a career in manufacturing. Due to changing manufacturing technologies, entry-level workers require higher skills than before, and employers are struggling to recruit and retain these types of workers. This program is highly flexible and can fit into your district in a variety of ways. 

WSCAM Middle School Video Contest

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Video Contest began in 2014 and has been growing immensely since then! This is the perfect program for your middle school digital storytellers to put their skill to use and have fun while learning about careers in manufacturing, working as a professional team, and improving project management skills.