INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Army recruiters say they are changing the way they compete for top talent.
Despite putting in more than 70 thousand soldiers – the highest in nearly a decade – the Army fell short of it’s 2018 mission.
Now, they are trying to bridge the disconnect between the Army and society.
Recruiters say most people only think of combat instead of the educational opportunities and more than 150 different jobs.
“I think that everybody that joins the army comes out, whether it’s 4 years, 10, 20, 40 years, you come out a different person,” says Lieutenant Colonel Austin Cruz.
He says that was the case in his own life. His goal is to help others achieve the same.
“Having that sense of accomplishment and selfless service, serving other people, being compassionate, that’s something you gain from service.”
Cruz says the Army is now changing its approach. They changed advertising, increased their social media presence, and began reaching out to communities of people they haven’t reached out to in the past.
Those include fitness communities and gamers.
“Sixty-five percent of households have some kind of gaming device,” says Cruz. “There’s different ways we can reach them. Whether it’s hosting our own tournaments or participating with them.”
Before blame is placed on Generation Z for any shortcomings, Cruz says there is something he noticed about these young people.
“Specifically different from millennials, they want to serve. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They just don’t know what the Army does to help them obtain that type of self-satisfaction and service.”
He hopes to change that.
In Indiana, the propensity to serve is lower than the 11 percent national average.
Cruz attributes that to a declining veteran population and a small military presence.
In his 2 years here, he says the propensity to serve increased from 4 to 6 percent.
They are already on track to meet this month’s enlistment goal. He says with the new approach they expect to have success this year reaching their target audience.