ABERDEEN, Md. - Early projections suggested the base realignment or BRAC at the Aberdeen Proving Ground would BRING 28,000 jobs to Maryland, but it appears those will come up about 10,000 short.
"There’s good news and bad news there,” said Harford County Economic Development Director Jim Richardson, “Certainly, on the Department of Defense side, we've been successful in retaining over 67% of the employees. Again, because of the economy, there wasn't too many chances they had."
Since more workers were willing to follow their jobs from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to Maryland, it meant hiring less people here.
While 76 defense contractors followed the military here, they have brought scaled-down operations cutting their job estimates in half.
But don’t dismiss the benefits associated with BRAC beyond that.
The build up has turned the $3.5 billion soldier training installation into a $20 billion base.
The salaries tied to BRAC have driven up the average household income in Harford County from $73,000 per year to $84,000, and it’s cut the county’s inventory of houses on the market from 18 months’ worth to just six months.
"Our foreclosure rates have almost dropped off the scale,” said Richardson, “We've run into quite a few people at Aberdeen Proving Ground who were able to buy from a bank or short sale that were able to take these properties."
BRAC also may give Maryland’s next generation of job seekers an edge.
"We're reaching down to the grade school level with programs to help... we have a dearth of education in those programs across the country," said APG Public Affairs Roger Teel.
The same six and seven year olds exposed to science, technology, engineering and math today may be the hires here of tomorrow.
*On Friday, September 7, Harford County will hold the last in a series of Town Hall meetings on BRAC and its impacts at Aberdeen High School’s auditorium at 6:30pm
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