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Recruiter Journal
Command Group
 
Guidance Counselor Program Generates Enlistments
 
By Fonda Bock
USAREC, Public Affairs Office
Dec 30, 2015

Since implementing "The Guidance Counselor of Excellence Program" in high schools in August 2014, the Des Moines Recruiting Company more than doubled enlistments, 68 in fiscal year 2015, compared to 33 in '14.

"The program works because it forces recruiters to engage and build professional working relationships with guidance counselors who have the influence to grant recruiters access to schools and students," said former Des Moines Company Commander Capt. Micah Ray, who developed the program.

Here are the steps:

1. At the beginning of the school year, the company commander sends a letter to all high school guidance counselors explaining what the Army has to offer students and schools.

2. Center leaders follow up by arranging meetings between the command leadership and the guidance counselors of all the targeted high schools and those with the most propensed students to discuss ASVAB, March2Success, and recruiter involvement in resiliency, PT, and leadership training.

3. COI events are held at high-target schools where faculty are briefed on Army opportunities and programs.

4. Recruiters maintain communication with counselors throughout the year. 5. The CLT emails the quarterly Guidance Counselor of Excellence newsletter – the "Warrior Sword," to all counselors to promote the program.

6. Certificates of appreciation are awarded to counselors and staff during an end of the year COI event where AARs are conducted with counselors.

During the initial meetings, the CLT asks counselors for their help in identifying prospects.

"We tell them we understand that you have students that you're talking to all year 'round to get them into college," said Des Moines Company 1st Sergeant Fernando Martinez. “But we also understand that you have kids who either can't afford it, or have no intention of going to school, or will tell you straight up, 'hey, we want to join the military.' "We know military recruiters come out, you know we’re looking for people to join the Army, and we know you want people to go to college. But you're the first ones to see them, so we want to hang a poster up here in your office and give you some cards to hand out, and when a kid tells you 'I'm looking at the military,' we want to be the first you think about, the ones you call, the ones you shoot an email to." The CLT also explains how students can continue their education through CONAP and on-post education centers after enlisting.

Guidance counselors have been responsive in sending referrals and granting recruiters more access to schools, Martinez said.

He said during 2014-15, Des Moines Company added two of the three battalion level targeted high schools to the SASVAB list, exceeded senior enlistments, and expanded classroom presentations, Army-led field trips, TAIR events, and high school career fairs.

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