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This week we have a state taking the winning title and a loser that is being forced to pay the costly consequences of maintenance mistakes.

Winner 

While combing through the manufacturing news this week, California caught my eye not once but twice. First, California announced that nearly $250 million in grants would be distributed to programs that combine academic and technical coursework in high school and community colleges with hands-on training and work experience in order to encourage students to find well-paying jobs.

The programs, called “Career Pathways,” will be distributed among high-demand fields and those experiencing skilled labor shortages, such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, agriculture and health care.

"My top priority is to better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century," explains Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "Career Pathways provides vital support for innovative, practical, and effective career tech programs that keep students engaged in school and prepared for real-world jobs."  

The second reason that California caught my eye this week was Merced, California’s position in a study by Headlightmeasuring manufacturing growth in cities across the U.S. Merced was recorded as having 26.2 percent growth in manufacturing sector employment — the highest metro in the U.S.

So this week, not only is California investing in training new participants in manufacturing, but one of their cities is also showing the most growth in manufacturing employment, making the Golden State the definitive “Winner of the Week.”

Loser 

This past week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $43 million cleanup plan for removing mercury contamination from near a DuPont ammunition plant in New Jersey.

The plant responsible for the pollution was DuPont’s Pompton Lakes Works plant, where the company manufactured ammunition for almost a century. According to reports, the plant leaked mercury, lead and other toxic chemicals across the 576-acre campus and surrounding areas.

As a result the company will be responsible for dredging the lakebed sediment from a 36-acre area known as Acid Brook Delta, as well as the nearby shoreline soil and three acres in Pompton Lake. DuPont has also been instructed to replace the shoreline soil and dispose of all the removed materials.

DuPont officials explained that they are committed to fulfilling their obligations in accordance with local, state and federal regulatory guidelines. Unfortunately for them, it seems that their obligations are going to be extremely costly.

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