Labor Ready, a Tacoma-based temp agency with 700 branches around the U.S., is partnering with the Army Nation Guard to "help boost the dwindling number of recruits," the Seattle Times reported Saturday. -- Todd Boyle, founder of Truth in Washington Recruiting and an activist with the Evergreen Peace and Justice Community, a member group of Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War (SNOW), said this is a kind of "economic draft": "Many people are vulnerable and need jobs and have no choice but to go into the military." Lisa Chiu of the Seattle Times reported: "While [Boyle] prefers this type of adult recruitment to recruitment in high schools, he added that recruiters still omit information regardless of the age of the target audience. 'The presentation is completely oriented around the listener's propensities, so they begin with your need for income and training,' he said. 'All those things are incidental to military service.'" ...
ARMY NATIONAL GUARD ENLISTS JOB AGENCY
By Lisa Chiu
June 25, 2005
Faced with nationwide recruitment challenges, the Army National Guard has partnered with Labor Ready, a provider of temporary jobs for unskilled workers, in the hopes the Tacoma-based company's 700 branches across the nation can help boost the dwindling number of recruits.
Dressed in Army fatigues yesterday afternoon, Sgt. Nicholas Grossenbacher of the Washington Army National Guard was at the Renton branch of Labor Ready explaining the GI Bill and the National Guard's time commitment of "two days a month, two weeks a year" to a small group. He said he hopes to visit the branch at least once a month.
In return for such recruitment stops, Labor Ready hopes to do some recruiting of its own by targeting National Guardsmen and spouses seeking temporary work while they await deployment, or have just returned from duty.
At 44, Labor Ready construction worker Denise Tapscott is too old for the National Guard, which has an age-range limit of 17 (with parental consent) to 39. But she said just before the start of yesterday's event: "If I were still young enough, I would go."
Tapscott's co-worker, Eddie Savannah, 47, added that the partnership would benefit young people who come to Labor Ready for temporary jobs.
"Young people can get a career, a trade. If they're down on their luck, they have an opportunity to get up, to see something new, to see the world," Savannah said of serving in the Guard. "Some people here are only lucky enough to go around the block."
But others object to the partnership. Todd Boyle, founder of Washington Truth in Recruiting, said it's an example of an "economic draft."
"Many people are vulnerable and need jobs and have no choice but to go into the military," Boyle said. While he prefers this type of adult recruitment to recruitment in high schools, he added that recruiters still omit information regardless of the age of the target audience.
"The presentation is completely oriented around the listener's propensities, so they begin with your need for income and training," he said. "All those things are incidental to military service. The real character of military service is killing and being killed."
Across the country, the Army National Guard was down in recruitment by 24 percent, according to a recent Los Angeles Times report.
Grossenbacher said it hasn't been harder to find recruits, just different.
"With the war, some do shy away because they think they will be going to Iraq," he said. "And if they sign up for six years, they will probably go somewhere. We can't guarantee they won't."
As one of the few workers at yesterday's event of age to join the Guard, 20-year-old Swayne Hoflack said he was undecided, though he said he saw nothing wrong with Guard recruitment at Labor Ready.
"I'm trying my own way first, like community college," Hoflack said. "You see what you can do with what you have first. Joining should be a last resort."