Army Offers Monetary Incentives for High School Seniors

By: Katie Heinz Email
By: Katie Heinz Email

The U.S. Army says the average soldier is 22 years old and serves for about four years.

To fill recruitment needs, the Army is offering new incentives, in the form of cash, for high school seniors to join.

The U.S. Army reports that nationwide, recruitment for both active duty soldiers and the army reserve met or exceeded goals last month.

But locally, a sergeant in Eau Claire tells us recruitment started off weak.

Bloomer High School seniors Erin Klawiter and Breezy Lynn Crandall just signed commitment contracts last week to join the U.S. Army.

They say they couldn't be more excited to start their logistics careers.

"It's been a long time, I've thought about it," Klawiter said. "I didn't know what I wanted to do."

"I'm going to be training for training," Crandall said. "I'll be making myself wake up, to make sure I meet the physical requirement."

They are just two of 14 local students who have signed up for the Army in the last month and a half, since a new incentive aimed at recruiting high school seniors took effect.

The Army is offering high school seniors $1,000 per month for every month between the time they sign up, and the time they leave for basic training.

"It's something to increase awareness for seniors and get them thinking about career opportunities in life rather than waiting for the last couple weeks of high school and deciding what to do," said Sergeant Raymond Jolin, a U.S. Army recruiter.

Sergeant Jolin says the incentive also helps the Army plan ahead for basic training and the jobs the students will take.

"This helps them get the job they want," Jolin said. "We can prepare and how many jobs we can fill, there's not a big rush last month of high school."

But not everyone is sold on the idea.

"The money incentive is something that can provide considerable pressure, particularly to young people from low-income families or those who aspire to go to college but know there's little financial aid to do that, and for kids who frankly, want out," said Sarah Harder, a National Peace Foundation member.

But Sergeant Jolin says recruiters only talk to the students who show interest.

"Once they graduate, they have to stay morally obligated and qualified," Jolin said. "Once they finish job training, they'll receive that money."

Both Crandall and Klawiter tell us they can't wait to finish school and start their careers with the Army.


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