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Defense Jobs Are Leaving Arlington, But Will Workers Follow?

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Kendra Allen ,with the Arlington County Employment Center, gave these bags out at the BRAC Job Fair. BRAC - or the Base Realignment and Closure process - will affect thousands of jobs in Arlington.
David Schultz
Kendra Allen ,with the Arlington County Employment Center, gave these bags out at the BRAC Job Fair. BRAC - or the Base Realignment and Closure process - will affect thousands of jobs in Arlington.

By David Schultz

In Arlington, BRAC, or the Base Realignment and Closure process, isn't an acronym. It isn't even a noun. BRAC is a verb.

At a career fair in Arlington for workers whose jobs are moving, the phrase "Been BRAC'd?" is emblazoned on blue tote bags.

Anita Friedman, an organizer of the fair, says the response was overwhelming.

"We had an official cap, I think, at 500 registrants," says Friedman. "And I know we surpassed that. I think we're in the 600 to 700 range."

One of those registrants is Rebecca Lorenz. Her job is moving to Fort Belvoir, more than 50 miles from her home in Waldorf, Maryland.

But Lorenz won't be moving with her job, at least, not if she can help it. She's looking for work elsewhere.

"I didn't want to face that type of commute," she says. "I'd rather explore my options and see if I could get something closer to home where I'm at right now."

If you factor in contractors along with military workers, 17,000 jobs will leave Arlington County by next year's BRAC deadline.

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