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About 700 students may have a new outlook on employment.

The students from schools throughout Chautauqua County got a head start Friday, learning what employers in the county need during the School-Business-Industry Awareness Fair in Steele Hall at Fredonia State College.

The students also learned about different careers.

Forty companies were on hand to answer questions about careers in banking, food processing, law enforcement, government, military, cosmetology, flight instruction and health services. The fair was sponsored by the Chautauqua County School-To-Work Partnership and was open to students in grades nine through 12.

Administrator John Hamels of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Education Services, who addressed the students, said six out of 10 students will have no marketable skills five years after graduation.

The No. 1 issue of employers, he said, is getting people to work.

"Ninety percent of attendance is not acceptable," he told the students.

He added that employers want candidates with good problem-solving skills, who can think on their feet and work as a team.

"Start thinking about goals you have after graduation. Get a good education and stick around -- there are a lot of good things in Chautauqua County."

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