LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The U.S. Army is facing challenges getting new recruits in the door.
Capt. Paxton Haydel, head of U.S. Army recruiting in Lafayette, says the percentage of the population that meets the minimum qualifications to serve is at an all-time low. The percentage that serves is the lowest it’s been since 2007.
The U.S. Army is now offering it’s largest bonus ever, to attract young people to sign up.
Men and woman signing up to be soldiers can now get up to $50,000, when committing to six years of active duty, under certain qualifications.
“It depends on your career skills, your career path you chose, what job you pick, length of your enlistment, and how quickly you ship off to basic training,” said Haydel.
The bonus cap used to be $40,000. The hope is, by tacking on $10,000, more recruits will dedicate themselves to the U.S. Army.
“The army has had issues a lot of employers have had in the last couple of years. The pandemic, political divide, economically. We’re doing more incentives to lure some of these young people over to the army. One of those is raising the incentive of capping the incentive bonuses at $50,000,” said Haydel.
However, money isn’t the only part of the recruiting plan. There’s a new program called the ‘Two plus two’, where a soldier spends two years in the active U.S. Army, and two years in the Army Reserves. The $50,00 bonus could apply to this as well.
“That allows people, who may want to join to see if the army is a good fit for them, to kind of get their feet wet on the active duty side, and if they don’t want to commit to a four or six year enlistment, then they can go back to the reserves,” said Haydel.
Another new option for new recruits is picking your duty station of choice, instead of being assigned to one. In Louisiana, Fort Polk is on the list.