WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Employers across all fields have said for months they need more hands on deck, and now it's a problem affecting the Air Force.
Recruiters say, historically speaking, it's not usually a struggle for them to meet recruitment goals -- but some things are changing. They're struggling to find qualified applicants.
One Macon 21-year-old says it's been a dream of his for years.
"I've been trying to join the Air Force since I was in high school. I could never get in, I kept trying," said Frank Edmond.
With dreams of traveling the world, he knew his calling was to be in the Air Force. His other inspiration is his older brother.
"What really made me want to get in? My brother. He actually did 20 years in the Air Force. He was a master sergeant and now he is retired," said Edmond.
The Air Force says it isn't finding as many dedicated people who want to join like Edmond. They're calling it the most competitive job market recruiters have seen in a long time.
The reasons range from the pandemic, the economy, and the hot job market. It's a countrywide issue.
"A lot of areas are struggling just to get applicants in the door. Our last quarter goal was 375 and we just crossed the finish line just before the end of the quarter. We ended up making our goal, but looking towards the fiscal year 2022, it's definitely going to be a struggle," said recruiter Andrew Veilleux.
He's part of the biggest recruiting squadron in the Air Force and they're trying their best to get good qualified candidates to help serve through signing bonus incentives.
They're also letting candidates know the skills they learn can be used in other job fields to help accomplish goals extending beyond the force.
"I always had a dream of living in a two-story house and I kind of know if I join the Air Force. I can get that in the future," said Edmond.
Sgt. Veilleux says there are many jobs the Air Force offers you can do in the regular world from the healthcare field all the way to cyber security. They are also offering bonuses ranging from $3,000 up to $5,000 for select career fields and terms of service.
They are looking for qualified applicants between the ages of 17 and 39 who have a minimum score of 31 ASVAP, can pass a physical, and have good morals.