Barrar and Committee Discuss Military Recruitment Barriers
3/10/2017
HARRISBURG – Led by chairman Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a meeting with military recruiters this week to learn about the challenges that recruiters experience in Pennsylvania’s high schools when trying to connect with students.

“Because it is important to facilitate conversations between our young people and military recruiters – for our country as well as for those who could benefit from enlisting – I am glad we discussed this important issue,” Barrar said. “I look forward to seeing the ideas we discussed, such as assemblies to allow the military and emergency responders to talk with all students, put into action.”

Capt. Ryan Tintera, an active duty Army recruiter, explained that the military would like to have the same access to students that colleges and universities experience. However, equal access is a matter of opinion, and military recruiters are concerned that a negative stigma on military service prevents them from gaining equal access to students. Currently, military recruiters are often forced to stay behind a table in the lunchroom while college recruiters are allowed to approach students.

Tintera described many scholarships and programs that are available, including a two-year enlistment. The opportunity provides more than $65,000 for college, special preference when applying to college as a service member and college credit for training (up to 30 semester hours) while living abroad and receiving payment for work, rent, utilities and food. Program enrollees will then spend another two years in the reserves.

Despite state law requiring military recruiters to receive the same access to students as is provided to college recruiters, claims were made that some high school administrators limit access to students. Dr. Eric Eshbach, superintendent of Northern York School District, explained that while his district does not limit student interaction with military recruiters, he imagines a possible explanation is simply a lack of knowledge of the many benefits available.

Eshbach shared that he sent a couple of guidance counselors from his district to a four-day boot camp designed to allow professionals to experience training camp while also getting information about the military’s offerings. One of the counselors attested that experiencing a taste of boot camp gave her a greater understanding of the student profile that would be a good fit, better enabling her to match her students with opportunities that will best serve them after high school.

Also this week, the committee partnered with the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for a conversation with officers and students in the United States Army War College’s Advanced Stategic Art Program. The distinguished members of the military community talked about what the border partrol is doing to respond to the heroin crisis, how a border wall may address immigration issues and what can be done to further develop the active-duty population in the Commonwealth.

Emergency response organizations shared challenges they face, program updates and their legislative agendas with the committee on Tuesday.

In a conversation with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), Brig. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, state adjutant general of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), talked about the status of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the military mission, deployments, military equipment upgrades and improvements made at Fort Indiantown Gap.

To control spending, 13,000 solar panels were installed on 20 acres of DMVA land at no upfront cost to the DMVA or taxpayers. The panels will generate much of the power needed for the military training site, lowering operating costs.

To view footage of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee’s informational meetings, click here.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206
aevans@pahousegop.com
SteveBarrar.com / Facebook.com/RepBarrar

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