The U.S. Army announced at the Pentagon recently that it will achieve its nationwide recruiting goal of 68,000 new soldiers this year.
As part of the overall goal, the Jacksonville Battalion, which spans northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, hired about 2,200 new soldiers from the area, exceeding recruitment goals for active-duty and reserve components.
“We are grateful to the community in supporting those who decide to serve as part of something bigger than themselves,” Lt. Col. Dave Henning, who leads the recruiters in the battalion, said in a news release. “In an era of change, we are finding new, innovative ways to reach tech-savvy men and women who can choose among 150 career choices in the Army.”
Because of the cognitive, physical and moral requirements, only 29 percent of youths who applied qualify for military service, so filling the Army’s ranks with the level of quality needed is challenging, according to Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, who leads U.S. Army Recruiting Command, based at Fort Knox, Ky. Despite the economic and societal challenges recruiters face, they successfully enlisted a quality force this year, he added.
“We have been successful this year because we overhauled how we do business in order to reach the right talent,” Muth said. “We are focused on being more relatable to today’s young people and reaching them where they are – on social media, on their mobile devices and on gaming platforms.”
When comparing the overall quality of recruits today to quality a decade ago, there is a marked difference, Muth said. In considering high school diplomas, GEDs, moral waivers and aptitude scores, overall quality of recruits has improved by 30 percent in the last decade.
“The Army has so much to offer young people in the Southeast,” said Henning. “A huge advantage for us is marketing what sets us apart. From education benefits to training to credentials that transfer to the civilian sector, a career in the Army offers perks that match or surpass those provided by civilian employers.”
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