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3 Reasons Why Superb Soft Skills Make You the Ideal Candidate

In our last blog we talked about how, as unemployment decreases and the job market evolves, employers are becoming increasingly interested in non-traditional candidates.

These candidates might not have all the typical prerequisites for the job, but it’s their soft skills that make them ideal hires.Here’s why you should spend more time refining these soft skills.

Reason #1: Soft skills enable candidates to master necessary hard skills over time.

Characteristics like communication, self-awareness, empathy, and teachability (to name a few) are what indicate a candidate’s teamwork and time management abilities, as well as his or her willingness to roll with the punches as responsibilities change.

Maybe you don’t have the certifications you need for your industry right now, but a potential employer will recognize your ability to earn them in the future based on characteristics you demonstrate in an interview.

Reason #2: Employees’ soft skills, or lack thereof, directly affect company culture — and the whole team’s productivity levels.

Some consider these qualities too abstract to measure, but a study from the University of Michigan found that conducting training to improve employees’ soft skills helped generate 256 percent net ROI and boosted both productivity and retention by 12 percent.

That’s a pretty measurable difference for something industry professionals have historically found challenging to quantify.

Reason #3: Soft skills, like self-awareness, play a huge role in employees’ furthering their careers beyond their current positions.

This means knowing where you excel — and where you fall short. We call this “Emotional Intelligence”.

Test out your emotional intelligence with our quick quiz. It’ll give you an idea of what skills you should sharpen to kickstart your career, progress to the next level, or even make an entire career change.

Companies aren’t just hiring people to do a job — they’re also hiring co-workers. Employers are looking for team members, which means they have a vested interest in finding candidates who not only have the skills and experience to do the job well, but also fit in with their company culture.

At ETS we like to say, “It’s all about people.” While mastering innovative technology and machinery is at the forefront of innovation in the Champlain Valley, none of it would be possible without collaboration among dedicated team members, from engineers to technicians and assemblers — and beyond. To create unlimited possibility, it’s paramount we know how to work together.


Why An Unconventional Candidate Could Be Your Next Top Performer

At ETS, Inc. we know how important quality is when it comes to hiring, and finding the right candidate.

Weirdly enough, hard skills aren’t the be-all and end-all of what makes a person the best candidate.

All companies list those “must-have” skills at the top of job descriptions. However, in today’s employment climate, adopting highly selective standards can actually hurt your recruitment efforts and cause delays in filling key positions. Unemployment dropped to 4.1% in October – a 17-year low, according to The Wall Street Journal. In fact, in a review of 2018 workplace trends, Forbes says the unemployment rate is predicted to further decline from 4.3% in 2017 to 4.2% in 2017, with an overall projection of 20.5 million jobs created by 2020, based on research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As you brainstorm what the ideal candidate looks like and how his or her job tasks might evolve between now and 2020, you’ll realize you don’t just want someone who’s going to get the job done. You want someone who’s going to go that extra mile – or miles, even.

It’s time to think outside the box. The real candidate you’re looking for might not have xyz certification or a certain number of hours completed in xyz training. You could interview a slew of candidates who have the “correct” skillset and background, but they might still lack the role’s required personal or professional characteristics.

But, if given the chance, someone who doesn’t already have the ideal certifications and training might be able and willing to learn. This type of teachable and adaptable candidate can hit the ground running and ultimately reach a stride at which he or she will succeed – this will be paramount in the coming years as technologies, procedures, and jobs in the Champlain Valley evolve.

In order to find this person, you’ll need to look beyond the typical candidate pool. That means screening applicants you might not normally even think to consider.

To give the company its best chance of finding this person in our increasingly competitive and changing job market, you would have to interview everyone.

And realistically, you can’t. But staffing agencies like ETS can.

And we do.

So far in 2017, we screened 4,438 individuals – and placed 3,066 of them. And that doesn’t mean the remaining 1,372 candidates aren’t qualified. It means they’re better suited to different roles – and we have the resources in the Champlain Valley to match them to those roles.

As ETS strives to stay on top of evolving trends, we’re ready to take on the future of staffing with an array of exciting new tools. With the onset of increasing data technology, we can figure out what unconventional candidates are best suited to our clients’ needs.

As the Champlain Valley’s unlimited opportunities continue to expand in all directions, ETS is committed to finding clients top talent – and helping talent build fulfilling and meaningful careers.


360 ETS Value


Celebrating Manufacturing in the North Country

It’s an historic time for Plattsburgh and the North Country. Modern day manufacturing is rapidly expanding, and there has never been a greater momentum surrounding these cutting edge opportunities.

Where should we begin?
Let’s start with the recent Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College. Last week, surrounded by esteemed community members, educators and industry partners, the ETS team had the honor of attending this monumental event. An event that celebrated much more than a building. The IAM is a foundation of learning that will continue to evolve with the speed of change. Serving as a regional hub for manufacturing education, this state-of-the-art facility will allow students of all walks of life to immerse themselves in an authentic manufacturing environment. With the ability to completely customize educational pathways and programs, students have never been more prepared to launch a rewarding and meaningful career – in a position they’re truly passionate about.

As a member of the IAM Advisory Committee, it’s incredible to not only see the growth, but to help collectively reshape the future of the North Country!

What’s up next?
In celebration of Manufacturing (MFG) Day 2017, the North Country MFG Day Committee is thrilled to be organizing an Open House – connecting local manufacturers with the community. Taking place Thursday, October 5, this day is part of an effort to address common misperceptions about manufacturing. Manufacturers will have an opportunity to spark interest in what’s made right in here and Clinton County, while drawing attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide. Ensuring the ongoing prosperity of the industry throughout the North Country.

Established in 2012, MFG Day is an annual national event executed at the local level supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses, plant tours and presentations. These events are designed to showcase modern manufacturing, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and help the community thrive.

NCMFG Day Open House
Thursday, October 5th from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing
This event is free and open to the public
This free event will allow community members to embrace, engage, and interact with the manufacturing industry around them. Community members are encouraged to come in and explore the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, as it opens to the public for the first time. The evening will feature stations throughout the building as they relate to our local industry and the exciting innovations happening in our area, with IAM instructors and industry representatives on hand to discuss programs and pathways to launch a career. Don’t miss a tour of the IAM happening at 4:30pm, 5:15pm, and 6:00pm. For more information on North Country Manufacturing Day click here.

But Wait, There’s More!
The next AIME session is starting October 16th! AIME stands for Assembling Industry: Manufacturing and Education. This 8 week, hands-on training course prepares students of all ages to start a career in advanced manufacturing. The program equips students of all ages with the latest skills, technical and soft, offers a behind the scenes look at local manufacturing facilities, teaches students how to get their resume in top shape and ace an interview, and concludes with an Employment Seminar where participants will have the opportunity to interview with the North Country’s top employers. New this year, the course will be taught at the IAM and OneWorkSource, and offer the potential for students to earn 5 college credits at Clinton Community College. Interested in registering for the next session of AIME? Click here.

For more information on how you can put your skills to good use with exciting, rewarding opportunities in this growing industry, contact ETS and speak with a recruiter today!


2017 Talent of the Year

All-Stars in Professional, Industrial and Administrative Divisions Receive Recognition
As National Staffing Employee Week ends, ETS announces 2nd Annual Talent of the Year award winners. National Staffing Employee Week, established by the American Staffing Association, honors the contributions of the millions of employees working for U.S. staffing firms in support of businesses and the nation’s economy every workday.

ETS’ Talent of the Year Awards honor individuals, throughout their three divisions in both New York and Vermont, who are outstanding performers and exemplify the promise of staffing excellency.

Talent of the Year Professional Award Winner:
Mike Fischer, Quality Manager, Norsk Titanium
Figuring out how to do things better is Mike Fischer’s job. So, when it came to his most recent career move, he knew there had to be a better way to go about his search and enlisted the help of ETS. “It was time for a new job but I could not devote full time to the search myself. ETS solved that problem for me. From my first contact with them, they were active and interested in my situation. I was able to continue working while ETS searched for me. This meant a smooth transition for both me, and my previous employer.” stated Fischer. With a unique background in a wide variety of challenges, from very high tech custom engineered solutions, to high volume extreme reliability auto parts, to low tech products that required team choreography from dozens of people, ETS knew his impressive quality background and forward thinking initiative would be the perfect fit at Norsk Titanium. Now the Quality Manager at Norsk, Fischer stated “ETS put me in an ideal position in an exciting company with a large potential for future growth. This is an excellent fit. I feel challenged and productive with the opportunity to contribute some solid value to Norsk Titanium.” Fischer’s role plays a critical part in maintaining quality for both internal operations and for their suppliers. As the company continues to rapidly grow, his expertise will transition to a one-stop source for all things quality, to manager of a department of quality professionals that will keep up with that growth while maintaining Norsk’s high standards.

Talent of the Year Plattsburgh Industrial Award Winner:
Michael McDonough Sr., Maintenance Cleaner, Schluter Systems
When Michael McDonough Sr. came back to the North Country after serving in the army, he was surprised at how difficult it was to find a good job. At 59 years old, Michael found himself equipped with a vast work history but consistently met with the same response from potential employers – “You’re overqualified.” With his resume including his first job at Keeseville Ford Garage, working as a Camera Operator/Plate Operator at a printing company, and his role as a Machine Operator for a plastic manufacturer, Michael knew there had to be a company somewhere in the North Country that understood how valuable his past experiences could be. With frustration fueling his job search, and determination to get back to work, Michael found himself seeking help from local staffing firms, and got that help from ETS. “I have been with ETS off and on for 11 years or so. They have always been friendly and helpful. If ETS can’t find you work no one can.” stated McDonough, who has continued to be a standout employee at Schluter Systems since his placement there in 2014 as a Maintenance Cleaner. This part-time position has been the perfect fit into McDonough’s life, who at 71 says this job keeps him going, working 3 days a week. “I enjoy meeting new people, working independently, and helping others when needed.” McDonough said of his role. McDonough’s dedication, and cheery disposition play an integral part in maintaining the efficient and effective operations of the facility.

Talent of the Year Administrative/Office Award Winner:
Kristen Siskavich, Human Resources Manager, B3CG Interconnect Inc.
When Kristen Siskavich decided to retire from the retail world after 28 years in the industry, she was advised to contact ETS for guidance. “I was very fortunate to meet with the wonderful ladies from ETS. They helped me put an awesome resume together, line up interviews and now, here I am, loving my job!” Siskavich stated. Her previous experience in retail management, combined with her friendly and approachable personality from her background in cosmetology, easily poised her for a career shift into Human Resources. “ETS was able to make my transformation a lot easier than I ever expected.” stated Siskavich, who is now the Human Resources Manager at B3CG Interconnect. Since being placed by ETS earlier this year, her unique skills and drive to succeed continue to launch her career as the company enjoys rapid growth. When asked what she enjoys most about working in this new field Siskavich stated, “It’s a position of influence. I am able to make a change in people’s lives and see the development of growth around me. It’s also the gratification of solving problems, because each day is different.” Her quick success has allowed the facility to focus on retention, simplify time management processes, and maintain consistent production.

Talent of the Year Burlington Industrial Award Winner:
Luis Hernandez, Carpenter/Concrete Worker, Camp Precast Concrete
Luis Hernandez, a Carpenter/Concrete Worker for Camp Precast Concrete, started at the company this summer. Since then, Hernandez has quickly proven his motivation and dedication. Not just garnering extra responsibilities, but earning the respect and trust of the team. He chose to partner with ETS to help develop a strategy to make his career vision a reality, “I met a recruiter who was intelligent, honest, and trustworthy, and I knew that if I proved myself she would help me reach my career goals.” stated Hernandez. His extensive background, which includes solar panel installation, construction, driving, assembly, and even taking care of show horses, has been his catalyst for thriving in an atmosphere built on teamwork. When asked what he enjoyed most about his job Hernandez stated, “I love people and working as part of a team!”

ETS congratulates all of the Talent of the Year Award winners for being selected to represent the extraordinary talent, dedication and contributions of employees throughout the Champlain Valley. Their inspirational stories highlight the opportunities that staffing employment provides, as well as the diversity of the individuals employed in every occupation and sector of our economy.


The Job Seeker’s Playbook

It’s Thursday, and that means football! Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does football have to do with my job search?” Well, surprisingly enough, there is a lot a job seeker can learn from this electrifying game.

Check out our “Job Seeker’s Playbook” below for a look at the lessons you can learn from the NFL.

There is no “I” in Team
You can’t overstate the value of teamwork in football. Football is a game where no single player can do much of anything without tons of help from the team. Remember that as a job seeker, you have a team to rely on too.

Before you submit your resume and cover letter, ask family, friends and your recruiter to read them over. They may help you find errors you would otherwise miss. Job seekers tend to feel they are on their own, but networking really is teamwork. Join groups online and attend networking events. You can meet people, earn referrals, learn more about your industry, and get some tips and advice on how to grow.

Recovery After a Sack
Many job seekers can relate to being “sacked”. It’s a reality in the job search just as it is in football, where setbacks and misfortune are a major theme. But have you ever seen a quarterback stomp off the field and quit after a sack? Quarterbacks know it’s part of the game. They recover quickly and begin planning their next strategy for moving forward.

As a job seeker, you will experience upsets and disappointment. That interviewer may not follow up with you. Your connection may not submit a referral for you. Your application may not even be seen by a hiring manager. You need to prepare for these setbacks. When you face a setback, step away. Then regroup after you let yourself process it, and get back to your job search. Reaffirm your belief in yourself by looking at your past experiences and skill set, then refocus your search on companies that matter to you.

Focus on the Bigger Picture
Success in football is all about trying several times to accomplish a goal. Sometimes a first down is achieved on the initial play, but often it’s not. The players never give up after the first failed play. They know it may take several tries and they stick with it. Stay focused on the long-term goal of finding a career opportunity that aligns with your values and your professional goals.
If you have an offer for a position that is outside the career path you want, then perhaps you should should hold off on settling and pursue a more meaningful job that fits into your professional goals.

Every player on every team goes through rough days, failed plays and big losses. But they stick with it and two lucky teams make it all the way to the Superbowl. Optimism, strategy, self-belief, great coaching and, of course, amazing fan support all help propel them to victory.

Now pass the buffalo chicken dip, and tell us how can we help you achieve your goals!


#IamETStalent – Virginia Seiden – Industrial Division Lead

Meet Virginia! (Yes now that song is stuck in our head too!) Her steadfast determination, infectious smile, and uncanny ability to understand our clients business and connect talent with a job they’ll love are just a few things that make her a rock-star member of the ETS team. Check out this video to learn all about why you should get to know Virginia.

What made you want to be a recruiter at ETS?
As a recruiter I literally change peoples lives. Other than getting married, having children or buying a house, there are few things in life that have a bigger impact on an individual and their family than landing or missing out on a great opportunity. Even though I can’t hire everyone, I try to impact those who don’t land an opportunity this time by coaching them and helping them understand how they can better develop themselves. So they will have a better chance the next time.

How did your role evolve from Recruiter to Division Lead?
By never giving up. I believe that business is all about relationships whether that’s in the office or out strengthening connections within the community. I always try to go above and beyond all expectations. I thrive under pressure and I love a good challenge. So to me, there’s nothing more rewarding than not giving up when something’s hard.

What’s your favorite part about the Champlain Valley?
The constant change. I love living in an area where we get to enjoy all four seasons.

Any claims to fame? Maybe you won an air guitar contest or won a lifetime supply of Ben & Jerry’s in a raffle? Or what’s one thing people would never know about you?
I’m very competitive and I dominate in laser tag.

What’s a superpower you’ve always wanted and how would you use this power?
Multiplicity. Imagine there were 5 of you going in different directions and accomplishing 5 time as much as you normally could. I could be five time as productive, or see the same event from five angles. I would be able to do volunteer work with one while another one could be enjoying a tour with one of my clients.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
Latitude 44 Bistro

What was your first impression walking into ETS?
I weigh my first impression on anything very heavily. As you know, you never get a second chance at a first impression. So when I walked in to ETS I was blown away with how welcoming and professional the environment and staff was.

Name something that makes your job feel rewarding.
The feeling you get when you have the opportunity to impact someone’s life. Whether that’s giving advice to candidates, helping them connect with a new career, or providing our Client’s with the talent needed to thrive.

What’s one piece of advice you give to candidates about to interview?
Research the company. One of the biggest mistakes candidates make in an interview is not knowing enough about the company. Do some digging on the web. Look up the company on social media. And don’t forget your recruiter is a valuable resource.


The Power of a Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Trying to do great things is difficult. Trying to do them alone is almost impossible. That’s why the most successful and influential people in their world have mentors, and also mentor others. Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell; Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs; Bill Gates had Warren Buffett.

Mentors. They’ve been there, and done that. A mentor can help guide you through your professional journey, and is said to be one of the most important keys to success – Imperative at any point in your career. Yet, a woeful number of professionals navigate their careers without one.

Here are some of the biggest benefits you’ll get out of mentorship – no matter which role you play:

You’ll be Pushed to Think Outside of the Box
Mentors find ways to stimulate your personal and professional growth. Working with you in a way that pushes you out of your comfort zone, and encourages you to hone and learn new skills.

Before you start looking for a mentor, consider what kind of role you are looking for them to play in your relationship. 2 types of roles mentors typically embody are:

  • The Cheerleader – who relentlessly boosts your self-esteem and confidence until you feel brave enough to knock down your own boundaries.
  • The Coach – who provides the knowledge you need to innovate – or overcome the same adversity they did.

If you’re approached to mentor someone else, consider what role would most help them grow.

Learn How To Accept And Give Feedback
Having a mentor means you’re asking someone to give you criticism all the time. And since mentors can see where you need to improve, where you often cannot, this means you’ll need to learn how to accept that feedback – not taking it as a challenge or an insult. This understanding will continue to serve you throughout your career, where feedback is boundless.

For the mentor, this also means that if they aren’t yet skilled at giving criticism in a way that comes across as helpful rather than insulting, they’ll have plenty of time to practice to make the relationship work.

Gain A Confidant Who Gives Reassurance
With a relationship built on respect and understanding, mentors do more than give advice and help brainstorm, they become trusted advisers. They’ll listen, share your worries, and guide you through your fears with their years of experience – giving you reassurance.

When the mentor is under stress, they can use that situation as a learning exercise for the mentee. Both the mentor and the mentee benefit from the stress reducing power of the relationship, because at the heart of it, they’re friends who trust each other’s capability and good judgement.

Mentoring is all about forming a great relationship centered around a mutual passion. The most satisfied mentees are the ones who recognize that every meeting has the potential to help their mentors advance their own careers, too. The keys to establishing a successful relationship include achieving total honesty, using open and supportive communication, establishing short and long term goals, and collaboratively solving problems. It’s a lot of work, but if you do it right, your career will soar to new heights (and that goes for both of you).


From Big Hair to Big Data

Celebrating 35 Years
In 1982 Hope Coryer did something no one else had done in the North Country. She opened a business that connected people with opportunity. Now, 35 years later, the company she founded thrives in no small part due to the lessons she taught the ETS family throughout the years.” Deb Cleary, President/CEO of ETS, Inc. stated, “As a 16 year veteran of the company my mom started, I’m proud of the business we’ve built. Myself and the 24 person team here in Plattsburgh and now Burlington, VT have become experts in workforce issues and challenges and work every day to solve our client’s problems and allow them to focus on their businesses.”

ETS Donates $25,000 to the IAM to Commemorate Long History of Workforce Development
ETS, Inc. is thrilled to announce that to commemorate and continue their long history of workforce development in the area, they have donated $25,000 to The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) at Clinton Community College. With this donation, one of the new classrooms will be named the “ETS Electronics Technology Lab.”

“Not just a business, this is our home. From the beginning, my mom made it a priority to give back to the community. As we proudly continue to build upon those efforts, helping hundreds of clients and tens of thousands of candidates connect to each other over the last 3.5 decades, we are honored to now include the IAM on this list.” continued Cleary.

The momentous opening of the IAM is only amplified by the area’s rapidly expanding manufacturing industry. Cleary stated, “As ETS strives to stay on top of evolving trends, we’re ready to take on the future of staffing with an array of exciting new tools. ETS has recently invested in systems and technology to bring the most advanced tools to source top talent to fill the excellent opportunities that North Country employers offer. We will be rolling out technology solutions to help predict better matches between clients and candidates in the hopes of being able to make real progress in solving retention issues.”

What the Community is Saying
“Over the last 35 years, ETS has been more than a successful employment service. It has been a consistent leader in the development and implementation of important and innovative workforce development strategies. Congratulations to a North Country business success story which has also been a real part of the region’s success.”
Garry Douglas, President, North Country Chamber of Commerce

“Happy 35th! Congratulations on this momentous anniversary of serving the placement needs of our region’s workforce. ETS’ financial commitment to the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College will help educate and empower folks to be competitive for some of the best placements in the future. I applaud them for supporting the IAM and our local talent.”
– Michael Cashman, Town Supervisor, Town of Plattsburgh

“ETS is a fabulous company! They have a long-standing reputation for customer service and will often go above and beyond for their customers and clients. They also have an extraordinary history of supporting the overall community through their acts of generosity, compassion and empathy. They set a great example of how a business can give back to the community and contribute to our unique quality of life.”
– John C.Bernardi, CEO, United Way of the Adirondack Region, Inc.

“The quality of the service provided by ETS over the last 35 years has been consistent and impressive. The contributions to the community by ETS through its owners and employees has been extraordinary demonstrating commitment to the Plattsburgh and Clinton County.”
– Former U.S. Congressman Bill Owens

ETS would like to extend a huge thank you to our valued clients and employees. The future is bright, especially in the North Country and Champlain Valley. ETS looks forward to growing and innovating here and beyond.


How to Uncover Company Culture

Want to know what it’s like to work for a company before you accept an offer? You can’t exactly just ask the standard, “What’s your culture like?” and expect to get a candid answer. Besides the fact that company culture covers a whole lot of ground and summing it up in one answer isn’t totally possible, it’s more likely than not going to yield a polished, marketing-approved response.

One of our favorite definitions of culture comes from the book Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, in which they define it as “the way we do things around here.” Culture ranges from how people dress and talk to leadership and reward structures.

So how do you uncover the corporate culture of a potential employer? The truth is that you will never really know the corporate culture until you have worked at the company for a number of months, but you can get close to it by asking specific questions during an interview. We’ve compiled our favorite questions that, while seemingly fairly straightforward on the surface, can help uncover deeper intel about the inner workings on the company. Keep these in mind the next time you’re in an interview and want to know the scoop.

How long have you been with the company?
If everyone you talk to has only been there a short time this may be a red flag. High turnover could be a sign of low pay, long hours, lack of opportunity for career advancement, or incompetent management.

How does the organization support your professional development and career growth?
If a company sees continued education as adding value to your profile this is a good indicator that they care about employee retention.

When the company is met with a challenge, is risk-taking encouraged? And what happens when people fail?
This question does a great job at revealing whether or not the company blames processes (if so, they are an organization of continuous learning) or people (if so, they may have a blame culture) when something goes wrong.

What was the last big achievement that was celebrated?
The questions gives interviewers the chance to reveal if employee efforts are acknowledged and appreciated and if people enjoy having company parties/gatherings. If they don’t do anything to celebrate it may be a thankless and cold environment.

How do you measure success and over what time frame? How are these metrics determined?
This question can give you insight into whether your potential new boss has realistic expectations with respect to what you will accomplish and by when.

What activities do you offer for employees?
If companies have outings, retreats or other social events, it can often give you a clue to how important they think it is for coworkers to LIKE on another, not just work together. As well as give you insight into whether or not your potential coworkers might be more extroverted or introverted.

Does the company give back to the community? In what ways?
If it is important that you and the company are aligned in terms of shared priorities such as corporate responsibility or giving back, then understanding their level of involvement offers important insight.

In the era of perks and employee benefits, we often get blind-sighted by the free food and on location gym facilities that employers offer and we forget to consider whether the company culture will fit us. But you can’t thrive where you don’t feel at home. And you can’t grow where you don’t feel welcome. The bottom line is that finding a company with a culture that fits you is essential to being happy, successful, productive and truly enjoying your work.

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