Marines Learn Millennial Approach to Recruiting

January 20, 2005 | By Vicki Haddock

The U.S. Marine Corps issued the following official news story:

More than 100 key members of the Marine Corps’ recruiting force recently gathered in Atlantic City, N.J. to discuss the current generation of America’s youth and more importantly, how to recruit them.

“Millennials,” as they’ve been coined by Lifecourse Associates founder, Neil Howe, were the topic of discussion at the day-long meeting which covered topics such as why generations matter and how to engage Millenials and their influencers.

The lecture, which was part of a two-day commanders conference, drew everyone from the Officers in Charge of local Recruiting Stations to the head of recruiting in the Marine Corps’ Eastern Recruiting Region

Howe offered Marines professional insight in to the ever changing character traits of the America’s adolescence and how they could more effectively fill the 40,000 vacancies the Marine Corps needs to fill annually.

They were also given an opportunity to participate in a problem solving exercise where generation-specific traits were evaluated and then converted into effective recruiting strategies.

One key observation of Howe’s was that the Millennial generation appears to be more team oriented, a characteristic which, in the long run, may favor the Marine Corp’s notoriously close brotherhood. Along with being particularly fond of group settings and uniformity, Millennials are also thought to be more likely to adapt to a regimented lifestyle due to their fundamental trust in government, and authority.

Howe also spoke on how the Millennials could be the next great “G.I.,” or “Greatest” Generation. The generation which, in their infancy, helped shape this nation industrially in the roaring 1920’s and later fought in World War II.

One of the key troubles of the millennial generation, Howe mentioned, was the fact that they lack physical activity, and according to a 2002 Center for Disease Control study, are the most obese generation ever, more than four times likelier to be overweight than their Gen. X predecessors.

This, said Howe, could potentially be a great selling point for the Marine Corps. “If you can sell membership to this unique organization, as a means of promoting lifelong habits of healthy living, you can demonstrate that joining this team will actually add to your longevity rather than risk it,” Howe said.

Recently, the Marine Corps made its recruiting mission for the ninth straight year and is currently meeting or exceeding their FY05 recruitment goals.


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