‘Working Class’ TV Episode Earns Telly Award

"Working Class"

The premiere episode of “Working Class,” a public television series produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, has earned a 2016 Telly Award.

The series was honored with a bronze award statue and certificate.

The Telly Award is acknowledged as a premier award for film and video productions, including outstanding local, regional and cable programming. The 36th annual competition this year considered more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

“Working Class: Dream and Do,” which premiered in January, appears regularly on WVIA. It also has aired on other Pennsylvania public television stations including WHYY and MindTV in Philadelphia, WQED in Pittsburgh, WLVT in Allentown, and WPSU in State College.

Many of the individuals who helped produce (or are featured in) the Telly Award-winning episode of Penn College’s “Working Class” TV series gathered at the college recently. They are (from left), Thomas E. Ask, Penny G. Lutz, D. Robert Cooley, Elaine J. Lambert, Christopher J. Leigh, Andrea McDonough Varner, David A. Probst, Lauren A. Rhodes, Nicholas L. Stephenson and Rob A. Wozniak.

Executive producer of the “Working Class” series, Elaine J. Lambert, who serves as special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations at Penn College, said it was a special honor to earn the Telly Award for the first episode in the series.

“The series encourages audience members to consider their own interests and goals while learning more about 21st-century career options,” Lambert said. “We took a bit of a risk in introducing this new concept. We could have stayed with the tried-and-true formula that we used for our previous Telly Award-winning series, ‘degrees that work.tv.’ Instead, we decided to expand our content – to produce a one-hour documentary – and to film at locations around the state to create a film that we believe is as inspirational as it is informative.”

Lambert and Christopher J. Leigh, video production coordinator at Penn College, developed the series concept and approached Penn College and WVIA leaders with the idea in 2015.

Penn College’s president saw the initiative as an opportunity to increase awareness of the institution’s crucial role in statewide workforce development while offering K-12 educators a resource for blending career awareness into curriculum development.

“We know that careers are on the minds of parents and children as they go through the entire educational experience,” said President Davie Jane Gilmour. “K-12 teachers can use the ‘Working Class’ series to encourage students to learn the basics of math, science and communication while showing them how these fundamentals are put to work in real careers throughout our society.”

Tom Curra, president and chief executive officer of WVIA Public Media, saw the potential for the series to have an impact beyond the region. As a result, WVIA shared the series with public television programmers around the state, securing airtime in major markets like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

“WVIA values our partnership with a great institution like Penn College of Technology,” Curra said. “We pride ourselves on telling great stories of the region and are honored to have collaborated with Penn College on this award-winning documentary.”

For the episode, Lambert conducted research and interviews, which were filmed by Leigh, who also directed and edited the documentary. Penn College student video production assistants Kashiki Harrison, of Williamsport, and Jeffrey A. Stanley, of Stewartstown, provided production support.

Thomas E. Ask, a Penn College professor of industrial design who appears in “Working Class: Dream and Do,” said he was contacted by a viewer who “was emotionally touched by it because so many of the discussions presented reflected his personal interests and ambitions.”

Other Penn College faculty appearing in the film are D. Robert Cooley, assistant professor, anthropology/environmental science; Brian A. Flynn, department head, art and design; J.D. Mather, assistant professor, engineering design technology; David A. Probst, assistant professor, engineering design technology; Lauren A. Rhodes, assistant professor, mathematics; Nicholas L. Stephenson, instructor, graphic design; Katherine A. Walker, assistant professor and engineering design technology department head; and Rob A. Wozniak, associate professor, architectural technology.

Also featured are Penn College student designers Zachary G. Bird, of Williamsport, and Matthew H. Gordon, of Milton; Penny G. Lutz, director, The Gallery at Penn College; Joseph Schoenly, science educator and camp coordinator, Da Vinci Science Center; Drew C. Seeling, teacher, Wellsboro Area High School; Nathan P. Siegel, assistant professor, mechanical engineering, Bucknell University; and Andrea McDonough Varner, teacher, Williamsport Area High School.

In addition to segments filmed on the Penn College campus and in the college’s Dunham Children’s Learning Center, the episode features segments shot at Bucknell University, Wellsboro Area High School, Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, and GE Inspection Technologies in Lewistown.

A full video version of the award-winning documentary is available on the series website. The website also offers short video clips related to topics explored in the episode, a blog written by the executive producer, and educator resources to help teachers and homeschooling parents incorporate the episode content into student learning experiences.

A second episode in the series, “Working Class: Build and Grow Green,” will premiere on WVIA on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. Details are offered on the website, and Working Class TV Series updates are available via Facebook and Twitter.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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