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New York State and companies doing business here need to cut costs and improve quality in order to increase economic development.

David Shaffer, president of the Public Policy Institute of New York State, spoke Friday to 100 people at the annual Business Awareness Luncheon sponsored by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce in the White Inn.

Shaffer said Western New York's economy has "turned the corner" and recovered somewhat from the downturn of the early 1990s. But he said much remains to be done.

The institute recommends strengthening education in the kindergarten-12 grades with higher standards, improving higher education and having collaborative efforts between the businesses and higher educational institutions in the state.

"Chautauqua County has slow job growth and a low unemployment rate. That is a supply problem with too few people with the right kinds of job skills," he said.

"We need to have New York residents stay here and we need to attract people from other states," he added. "One method would be to charge everyone the same tuition at SUNY. People would come to school here and then stay."

The luncheon followed the eighth annual Business Awareness Fair held in Steele Hall on the State College at Fredonia campus.

Forty businesses, governmental organizations and not-for-profit organizations had booths that attracted students from 14 districts in the county, according to David Kleparek, coordinator of the school-to-work program.

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