I represent one of the nation's most valuable employers.
During the last school year, I hired 1,274 high school graduates and 559 adults with college degrees. These 1,833 young people committed to work for three to six years. They are a small percentage of young Americans who qualify to be part of our team.
My profession offers unparalleled health care benefits, tax-free allowances for living expenses, education stipends and work locations around the world. There are 151 jobs available in 25 career fields, and we are continuously hiring.
Who am I? I'm an Army lieutenant colonel and the commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion New York City located in Brooklyn.
Of the 1,833 young men and women we enlisted, the vast majority are starting their first entry level, full-time job, earning competitive pay and benefits. Even if they leave the Army without retiring after 20 years of service, they will have earned tens of thousands of dollars to use for college and the eligibility to buy a home with no down payment as a result of their Veterans status.
Because the U.S. Army changes its size based on our nation's recruiting needs, the number of personnel I can hire fluctuates consistently; however, what remains constant are the standards for employment.
The future of our all-volunteer force requires our new soldiers to have a high school diploma, meet age-appropriate height and weight standards, have zero serious criminal misconduct issues and be independent of drugs and alcohol.
Of the 56,000 young men and women whose initial term of Army service ended in 2013, 58 percent did not reenlist, which means they returned home prepared to be productive members of your community still with their youth intact, and now they add concrete job experience, problem solving skills, guaranteed money for college to their list of successes.
We thank the employers, schools, coaches, mentors, and most all, the parents of those 1,833 new soldiers from the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion New York City who enlisted during the last school year.
We ask them to stay on the lookout this school year and provide encouragement for the next several hundred future soldiers who are qualified and willing to stand up and honorably serve our country.
Lt. Col. Michael A. Stinnett is a 19-year Army veteran with a deployment to Iraq in 2008. He is a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point and has two masters degrees.