DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa National Guard is having trouble recruiting new people into the armed forces. Numbers for both the Air and Army National Guards are declining.

A large part of the decline is due to factors stemming from the pandemic. Lt. Col. Randall Stanford with the Iowa Army National Guard said that COVID limited the guard’s access to one of their main recruiting grounds.

“COVID limited our access to schools,” Lt. Col. Stanford said, “In the Iowa Army National Guard high school students are our focus. So the inability to get into schools during COVID impacted some recruiting.”

Recruiters are also finding there are fewer people willing and able to serve. Some companies have started offering tuition assistance and hiring bonuses which makes more competition for recruiters.

Col. Trenton Twedt of the Iowa Air National Guard said that to try to boost recruitment they have started offering a $20,000 signing bonus to new recruits. Col. Twedt also thinks more training for recruiters will help.

“We’ve got a large turnover in the recruiting force in Iowa,” Col. Twedt said. “Some of those recruiters have not been able to attend all the training that they need to become that good salesperson to go out and reach those applicants.”

To learn more about the opportunities the Iowa National Guard has to offer visit their website.