SEATTLE -- The U.S. Army is trying a new approach to meet its recruiting goals this year: targeting left-leaning cities like Seattle that have historically been a challenge for military recruiters.
According to The New York Times, the Army missed its 2018 recruiting goals by roughly 6,500 soldiers. Traditionally, the Army focuses its efforts on more conservative regions from Virginia through the South and to Texas. Now, they're trying something new.
Seattle is one of 22 cities included in this new push. Cities like Seattle, with lots of high-paying jobs and a $15 an hour minimum wage, are especially hard for Army recruiters.
It's not just the wages and job markets that get in the way of recruiting efforts here. Recruiters told The Times that kids in these left-leaning cities -- think Chicago, San Francisco, Boston -- are less likely to have family members who served, and less likely to be encouraged by adults to enlist.
“Legally, the high schools have to let us in, but a lot of times, they’ll just ignore our calls,” Sgt. First Class Jeremiah Vargas, head of Seattle's Army recruiting center, said. “A lot of schools don’t want us to talk to their kids. They want them to go to college, and see the military as a last resort.”
Instead of pitching a stable career and job training, Army recruiters will be selling public service, travel and adventure. They're also turning to social media to help in these more tech-savvy regions.
The Army was the only branch of the U.S. military that missed its 2018 goals, but it's worth noting that the Marine Corps, the Navy and the Air Force have half as many soldiers to recruit.
Read the full New York Times article here.