As many Americans continue to struggle with unemployment or underemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Army is preparing to launch their National Hiring Days campaign aimed at enticing young Americans into seeking employment as either an active duty or reserve Soldier.
The campaign, which is slated to run between June 30 and July 2, is being called a “virtual recruiting event,” and isn’t only being supporting by Army recruiters. This massive digital push to draw in as many as 10,000 new recruits is being supported by Soldiers throughout the entire branch.
“We are asking the Army, especially the Army senior leadership outside of recruiting … every division commander, every corps commander, every senior leader, to be an active recruiter for three days in some way, shape, or form,” Major General Frank Muth, Commanding General of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, explained.
“These folks these days, the Z Generation, they are not just tech savvy, they are tech innate,” Muth said. “You have to understand where they are operating, where they’re living, and where they’re socializing and it’s all on social media and it’s all on e-sports and e-gaming.”
The Army’s National Hiring Day effort isn’t just an awareness campaign. Not only does the Army intend to recruit 10,000 new trainees, they have a plan in place to get them all into the training cycle within just 60 days as well. While many Americans may be worried about securing an income and benefits quickly, the Army will also be able to offset the slowdown in recruiting caused by the pandemic.
“If they don’t need a lot of medical consults or waivers, if they signed up on the second of July, we can have them on a bus by the latest, the second of August,” Muth said.
The Army’s recruiting efforts were negatively affected by COVID-19 just like everything else, thanks in large part to the in-person engagement recruiters are accustomed to. In recent months, the Army has pivoted to leverage digital communications more than ever, and their National Hiring Days campaign may be just what the force needs to get recruiting back on track.
“COVID-19 definitely changed how we had to recruit and we were lucky we were ready to adjust to it because we had already been on social media and the digital platforms for almost a year and a half at that point,” Muth said.
An important part of this recruiting endeavor is the Army’s emphasis on the broad variety of occupational specialities offered by the branch, many of which translate directly to civilian employment on the other end of service. Out of the 150 occupations the Army offers, as many as 50 are in healthcare–an occupation that is always essential, but that has seen an increase in public awareness amid the viral outbreak. Other occupational specialities fall within industries like aviation, data analysis, cyber operations, and intelligence, just to name a few.
“The Army has a career for every interest, and many people aren’t really aware of that,” Muth said. “You’ll receive the technical training to succeed in your field and then have access to education benefits to go even further.”
It’s not just about work experience, of course. The Army is also offering education benefits that not only allow for pursuing continued education while serving, but can also permit separating veterans a chance pursue their education at a state university with 100% of their tuition covered, alongside book stipends and a living allowance. It’s worth noting that these benefits aren’t just a marketing gimmick. As the editor of Sandboxx News and a Marine veteran, I can personally attest to the incredible value of military education benefits–I used them to earn the degrees I needed to pursue this very job.
“I know there’s a challenge out there for employment, but that’s not the best reason to join,” Muth said. “The best reason is the things we offer.”
Serving in the Army isn’t just about warfare. There are many occupational specialties that require, and teach, the same skills that are coveted in the private sector. Soft skills like attendance, communication, professionalism, teamwork, and leadership help people succeed in any environment, and they’re also the subject of a great deal of emphasis within the U.S. Army.
For potential Soldiers that have already gone to college, the Army is also offering up bonuses of up to $40,000. There is also a program that will pay off up to $65,000 worth of student loan debt for incoming officers that commit to four years of service.
With a breadth of positions and a long list of benefits, the Army is hoping to entice the younger generation of Americans to see the value in service, both for themselves, and for their community. As General Muth points out, for many young people in America today, the goal isn’t necessarily personal wealth, as much as it being a part of positive change in their communities.
“The Z Generation—compared to some of the millennial generation—they want to serve, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They’re not necessarily out there wanting to make a killing in terms of money, but they just want to be part of something and give back,” he said.
“The message is, join us. We need a diverse Army that represents all of America.”
If you’d like to participate in the Army’s National Hiring Day, or would like to learn more about the effort, click here.