Proving ground opens personnel center 266 Army civilian jobs expected for Harford Co.


Beating out several competitors, Aberdeen Proving Ground recently opened a regional Army personnel center expected to bring more than 200 civilian jobs and millions of dollars to Harford County.

Officials say the Northeast Civilian Personnel Operations Center, which opened this month, will be fully operational by next year and eventually will serve 40,000 Army civilian employees.

The new center brings with it 266 jobs and almost $10 million in employee salaries, officials said.

The regional center will handle such duties as rating applicants, developing job descriptions and issuing referral lists of qualified applicants to managers -- jobs that used to be done by personnel offices at individual bases.

"Now it's regionalized to make things more efficient and economical," said Michael L. Vajda, director of Aberdeen's civilian personnel service.

The proving ground is Harford County's largest employer, with slightly more than 12,000 workers. Almost 8,000 of them are civilians.

In the face of military cuts, the Department of Defense has established 23 regional centers, 10 of which are Army centers.

Vajda said APG, which competed with several other installations for the center, has welcomed its new tenant enthusiastically.

"This whole project has really shown the Army at its best," Vajda said. "Everyone from high command on down has been supportive."

The center will service five major Army commands and 22 installations in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"It puts out a message that APG is an important part of the military's future," said county spokesman George F. Harrison. "Even with all the downsizing, APG has been very stable."

Paul Gilbert, director of Harford County's Office of Economic Development, said bringing the center to Aberdeen was a joint effort of military officials, county government and the community.

"We worked with APG to do a real heavy marketing campaign," Gilbert said. "Once we knew we had the center, we did a one-stop orientation for employees transferring here that offered them information about things like the area's schools and housing."

Bringing in the center also helped to preserve some jobs at the installation that might have been lost had the center not opened there, Gilbert said.

"It just further stabilizes APG as the economic engine of Harford County," Gilbert said.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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