By Lt. Col. William NutterAugust 1, 2007
July 27, 2007
Recruiting and retention have turned into good news stories for the Army Reserve recently, with several new programs and initiatives coming on line to help fill the ranks.
Retention of first-term and career Army Reserve Soldiers is at a combined total of 119% of the United States Army Reserve's year to date mission, with 15,238 Soldiers rejoining, out of a programmed target of 12,792. First term recruiting has been on an upward swing, with US Army Recruiting Command accessing more Soldiers for the Army Reserve than their targets for both May and June (the latest months whose figures are available). In May the target was 2,250 and they assessed 2,636. For June the target was 3,450 and they assessed 4,258.
There are a number of recent programs the Army Reserve can point to as designed to bring about the success those numbers show. The Army Reserve began offering Education Stabilization to new recruits in April, they began offering Lodging in Kind (to cover the cost of long distance commuting to unit drill sites) that same month and they converted to a Delayed Training Program in May.
In perhaps the largest program brought on line the Army Reserve kicked off its Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program in June. What is it' The Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program was launched to essentially making every Soldier a potential recruiter.
AR-RAP leverages the talents of Army Reserve Soldiers by allowing them to conduct their own recruiting efforts within their local community - to increase exposure of the Army Reserve and inform members of the community regarding the benefits of joining the Army Reserve.
Army Reserve Soldiers may become recruiting assistants at the grassroots level to recruit in their communities, where they work and live. Unlike traditional Army recruiting methods, AR-RAP involves Army Reserve unit members working on their own time to conduct recruiting in partnership with a contractor for non-prior and prior service recruits who contract and later complete training requirements.
To become a Recruiting Assistant, Soldiers must first complete on-line training with the program's contractor. Upon completing the on-line training, Soldiers become certified as RAs and are immediately available to begin conducting their personalized recruiting efforts.
Recruiting Assistants work with their prospective Army Reserve recruits throughout their accession process, but are not authorized to make legally binding commitments regarding bonuses, incentives or guarantee specific jobs upon joining the Army Reserve. Eventually, all prospects are linked with full-time Army Reserve recruiters, who assist RAs by administering the contract process, and schedule required medical and aptitude tests for recruits prior to their accession. The RAs also serve as mentors to recruits until they depart for basic training; preparing them for military service.
As of July 24, there were 7,812 soldiers signed up to the AR-RAP Program and they had already made more than 700 referrals. On July 16, Pvt. Dustin McMore of Conway, Ark., became $2,000 richer by becoming the Army Reserve's first recipient of the AR-RAP bonus. To qualify, McMore successfully recruited his friend Pvt. Trent Harris, also from Conway, into the Army Reserve.