COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) _ Corvis Corp., a maker of optical services networks, announced plans Monday to eliminate 250 jobs, or about 15 percent of its U.S. work force, as part of an effort to streamline initiatives and reduce expenses.

Employees who choose to leave voluntarily will be offered a ``comprehensive'' severance package, company spokeswoman Keira Shein said.

Corvis also will establish a recruiting assistance center to help departing employees find another job.

``The reduction in work force ... though necessary for the company's long-term health, is nonetheless painful for those of us who have worked so long and so closely together in building Corvis into what it is today,'' said Dr. David Huber, founder and CEO.

Shares of Corvis fell 39 cents to $7.03 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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