Army Will Offer Up To $40,000 To Some Recruits




 
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Army Will Offer Up To ,000 To Some Recruits
 
December 4th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Army Will Offer Up To $40,000 To Some Recruits


Army Will Offer Up To ,000 To Some Recruits
Cleveland Plain Dealer
December 3, 2007
Pg. 1
By Patrick O'Donnell, Plain Dealer Reporter
Duty. Honor. Country. And now a big down payment on your house.
The old patriotic reasons aren't quite pulling in recruits for the Army as well as they used to. So the Army is adding a new financial incentive to the college tuition benefits and bonuses it already offers.
Starting in January, recruiters will offer new enlistees up to $40,000 toward their mortgage or to start a business. The $40,000 requires a five-year commitment, though enlistees can receive lesser amounts for shorter terms. The money is available after finishing the term.
Cleveland is one of five markets where the new benefit, called the Army Advantage Program, will be tested before offering it nationwide.
Recruits coming through the Cleveland recruiting battalion, which covers the northern part of the state including Toledo and Akron, will be eligible for the benefit. The rest of the state is not eligible.
The other test areas are Montgomery, Ala.; Albany, N.Y.; Seattle and San Antonio. The Army public relations department could not say last week why these cities were chosen other than through demographic research.
The Army has had trouble recruiting new candidates the last few years, amid the war in Iraq. Despite that, it has increased its overall size by several thousand. Last year it eased restrictions of recruits with criminal offenses to help bolster numbers.
The Army has met its national recruiting goals for this year, but the Cleveland area had its weakest year in several years.
Army spokeswoman Maj. Ann Edgecomb said the financial incentives will give potential recruits a new choice of benefits that the Army hopes will help it grow by another 27,000 soldiers by 2010.
"This is a very difficult time to recruit for an all-volunteer army," she said. "We have to compete with the other options that are out there in the civilian world. This is a way of competing."
The program is still being developed, so many details are still being sorted out. Local recruiters declined to comment because they are still waiting to be briefed on it.
The news caught even a long-time recruiter and now an adviser to the Army, Sgt. David Hack of Stow, once the top recruiter in the country, by surprise.
"Is that so?" he exclaimed. "Golly."
"That's an awful lot of money," he said. "I think it's a fantastic selling tool."
For students graduating from high school in Cleveland, it could also have appeal, said Wesley Sanderson, a guidance counselor at the Max Hayes vocational school where about 15 percent of students join the armed forces. Some students, he said, want to go right into the work force after school or the service and can use help in buying a house. Families may look at the bonus as a chance for the youth and parents to finally land a dream house.
But Sanderson said he will often advise against taking this option and urge students to choose the Army's college tuition benefits instead.
"Education is the key to getting a better job," he said. "It's the logical sequence to get the training first and not overextend yourself right out of high school with a mortgage."
But Ted Ginn Sr., founder of an academy for at-risk students, said the program will be "huge" for Cleveland students in that it gives them another choice, one with a clear and tangible benefit. Ginn said many youths today have a "show-me" attitude and want some guarantee of benefits for making a commitment or sacrifice and doing work.
"They want to physically see it," said Ginn, football coach at Glenville High School. "This is something they can see."
Though many students are too young to think about buying a home and are used to living with their parents, Ginn said, others may look at it as a way to buy a home for their parents and move them out of apartments or bad neighborhoods.
"I can sacrifice four years of my life and take my mother out and buy her a house," Ginn said some students will reason.
But Hack cautioned that the old standby appeal to patriotism is still the major draw to the services, not cash.
"This is just icing on the cake," he said. "The main selling point for a young man or woman is duty."
"You can't pay a person to put the uniform on. You can't pay him to run up the hill and charge live ammo," he said. "There is no way."
New Army enlistment bonus
The Army will start offering new bonuses toward mortgages or starting a business to northern Ohio recruits starting in January.
Here's how it works: Recruits to the Army get money based on the number of years they enlist for: Three years ($25,000), four years: ($35,000), five years ($40,000). For the Army Reserve: Three years ($10,000), four years ($15,000), five years ($20,000).
The money is available to soldiers after they finish their enlistment and they show proof to the Army that they are trying to buy a house or have registered a business with their state. If the house purchase or business start-up does not go through, they may keep the money.
 


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