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Amid labor shortage, Army offers largest enlistment bonus ever

The Army is seeking to blunt the pandemic-fueled labor shortage rocking the country’s economy with its largest bonus ever — $50,000.

In a release Wednesday, military recruiting officials said the incentive, for qualified recruits who sign up for certain career paths and agree to active-duty six-year enlistments, is aimed at luring the “same talent” that private companies are competing for.

“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” Brig. Gen. John Cushing said in a statement.

Millions of people in the U.S. — perhaps fearful of getting sick or unable to find child care — voluntarily quit their jobs last year. Many large and small companies responded with bonuses, raises and other enticements.

Target and Walmart announced employee reimbursement programs. Restaurants began offering 401(k) retirement accounts and profit-sharing agreements. White-collar professions increasingly turned to remote positions.

Enlistment bonuses used to max out at $40,000 in the Army. But with full- and part-time positions vacant across 150 careers, military officials boosted incentive packages by $10,000.

For instance, a new recruit who enlists for six years as an air and missile defense crew member would typically earn a $40,000 bonus, the Army said.

The military is now offering a $9,000 “critical accession” bonus for the position, as well as $1,000 more if the recruit attends training within 90 days.

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