US Army increases enlistment bonus to $50,000
Army recruiters in the Valley are seeing a drop in new enlistees. It’s a problem across the nation. Now, the U.S. Army is offering recruits up to $50,000 in enlistment bonuses.
“They’ve always been available, it’s just now they increased it to 50,000 to stay competitive with the civilian job market," said Sgt. First Class Gabriel Barreto, station commander at the McAllen recruiting station.
In the Valley, Army recruitment numbers are down about 20 percent compared to the last four years.
“Typically in all of the Rio Grande Valley, we will contract anywhere between 400 to 550 enlistment contracts,” said Sgt. Barreto. “We’re projected to finish the fiscal year anywhere between 300 to 350.
Sgt. Barreto says it has to do with the state of the market.
“With remote teleworking being the norm going across the country, that could be highly enticing for the youth,” Barreto said.
Recruiting efforts also took a hit during the pandemic.
“That limited the ability of recruiters to actually interact with applicants face-to-face,” Barreto said. “The key for us-- we’re talent scouts for the Army and every opportunity that we can have to help squash misconceptions and show people what the real lifestyle of the Army is.”
One group of recruits who are still going strong are those following a family tradition.
“My dad and his dad were in the military, so I guess it just sparked in my mind,” said Army recruit Francisco Garza.
Sgt. Barreto says 75 percent of people in the Army are second-generation.