Higher-tech recruiting

The Army brings the recruiting station into the 21st Century via the Army Experience Center

To entice new recruits to join its ranks, the Army has a 14,500-square-foot facility that resembles an Apple store or video arcade more than a military recruiting station, according to a report by Defense Systems magazine, an affiliate publication of Government Computer News.

For decades, Army recruiting offices have looked the same: uniformed soldiers seated behind rows of metal desks in a setting more intimidating than welcoming. For people with little interest in finding out more about the Army, the old-style recruiting station wouldn't do much to change their attitude.

So Army officials decided to experiment with a new type of recruiting center. The result is the Army Experience Center, a 14,500-square-foot facility that opened last summer in a shopping mall in Philadelphia.

Touch-screen applications, rows of video games, and helicopter and Humvee simulators let visitors learn about the Army without having to speak to a recruiter. Flat-screen monitors are mounted throughout the center, and a large screen at the entrance features an application built on Google Earth technology that visitors can use to learn about Army bases worldwide.

Visitors must register if they want to use the games and other systems. They also must provide basic contact information and details such as school status and grade averages. Visitors can ask to receive additional information about the Army, but they are not obligated. Those who register receive a photo ID they can use for future visits.

Military and civilian government executives are finding they need cutting-edge technology to attract and retain talented workers. The culture and technology changes aren't easy, but they are necessary for agencies that want to appeal to today's workers.

To read the full version of "Recruiting technology goes cutting edge," click here.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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