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The workforce shortage hits the Armed Forces

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - If you’re not providing perks, you’re not getting workers. That seems to be the message companies like McDonald’s, Amazon and Walmart have gotten loud and clear.

As a result, they’ve bumped up their work incentives to attract people, but nationally and in Wyoming, that shift has caused the Armed Forces to re-evaluate how they get recruits.

Across the board, the Army, Air Force and Air National Guard are feeling the pinch.

2018 saw recruitment numbers drop from 29 percent to 23 percent since the pandemic, the lowest numbers since volunteer service in 1973.

Defense officials say youth interest in military service has also declined from 13 to 9 percent in 2021.

”While we’re trying to get ingrained back into our communities. Have that presence, and build those relationships in order to establish centers of influence and impact the propensity to serve with our youth or our qualified military available applicants,” said CSM. Edmundo Herrera, Wyoming National Guard.

Pay, benefits, purpose and being valued all factor in when it comes to today’s workforce.

New Airman Rebecca Fredrickson said this job offered stability and perks she couldn’t get elsewhere.

”Not only was there instate tuition available, but the health insurance was a huge thing for me especially having 2 little boys running around. And it wasn’t just any health care; it was amazing health insurance, so that was a big reason why I joined,” said Fredrickson.

Officials said that 20 years ago, an Airman would join to gain an education, but with other companies offering that and more, workers can choose companies and benefits that suit their needs.

”Now the force is more interested in that whole person concept. Not only is it related to education....That larger focus on the whole person concept and the idea the individual being and immediate contributor,” said SMSgt. Zachary Austin, Recruiting & Retention, Wyoming Air Force.

Additionally, officials say that as Federal workers, recruits must have all vaccines, including Covid-19, as part of their defense and security here and abroad.

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