RAND to Evaluate New Concept in Recruiting

Photo of Potomac Mills Mall Career Center Entrance
Entrance to the New Armed Forces Career Center at
Potomac Mills Mall (in the Washington, D.C. area)

The services today are facing the most challenging recruitment climate since the advent of the all-volunteer force. The services must enlist more than 203,000 young men and women in the active-duty force for fiscal year 2001 and retain more than fifty percent of those serving today.

To respond to these challenges, the armed forces have increased the number of field recruiters to provide a greater presence nationwide. At the same time, the Joint Recruiting Facilities Committee, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recommended developing "enhanced recruiting stations" -- or "Career Centers" -- in densely populated, highly trafficked areas.

Career Centers are located in large malls to attract the attention of visitors and encourage walk-in browsers who might be curious about the military and military careers. Recruiting stations provide a vital link in the Department of Defense's recruitment marketing and advertising strategies. Recruiters are hopeful that these new Career Centers will enhance the "brand identity" of the armed forces and expose young people to the opportunities and benefits of a military career.

The first enhanced recruiting station, the Career Center in Potomac Mills Mall (located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area), opened in December 2000. The Center's attractions and features, which include videos about military life and a computer kiosk to inform visitors about careers and opportunities, were specifically designed to appeal to today's youth.

Because career centers of this kind are a new concept in military recruiting, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has asked RAND to evaluate their effectiveness. The main goal of RAND's research is to compare the Career Centers' cost-effectiveness against traditional recruiting stations and methods for 1) enlisting recruits, and 2) promoting awareness of military careers to potential recruits and other "key influencers."

Coming Soon: More information about RAND's evaluation of enhanced recruiting centers can soon be found on the forthcoming Career Center Evaluation web site, which will include future research results as they become available.