AFROTC expands Gold Bar Recruiter Program to increase diversity in officer corps

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jackson Manske
  • Air University Public Affairs

Forty newly commissioned second lieutenants headed across the country to volunteer for the Gold Bar Recruiting Program after completing a two week course Aug. 18, 2020, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

“The overall mission of the Gold Bar Recruiting Program (GBRP) is to inspire, engage and recruit talented and diverse men and women into our Air and Space Forces,” said Maj. Sierra Smith, the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Chief of Recruiting. 

The GBRP is a yearlong program for newly-commissioned second lieutenants from Air Force ROTC to return to a detachment and inform prospective cadets of Air and Space Force career opportunities and the ROTC scholarship program. The GBRP also serves as an opportunity for these young Second Lieutenant recruiters to develop valuable interpersonal leadership skills. 

“The recruiters gain confidence and tools in their tool kit for effective communication, strategic engagement and continuous outreach,” noted Smith.

As part of an effort to increase diversity within the Air Force, the GBRP expanded the number of recruiter positions from 30 to 40, allowing for more attention to be directed toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

“A diverse and inclusive DoD draws out and builds upon the best in each of us; it builds esprit de corps, forges teamwork, and brings out the best between us. In short, it brings out the best in America,” said Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, in a message released June 18, 2020.

Jadzia Cabrera, a new Gold Bar Recruiter and pilot candidate from Puerto Rico, discussed her decision to apply for the GBRP. She expressed gratitude for a captain who she said mentored her and helped guide her toward a career in aviation after observing her drive and natural aptitude.

“Hopefully reaching out and giving more to the Hispanic community … will equalize the ground to give them a shot like everyone else,” said Cabrera, who headed to the University of Puerto Rico to work the GBRP.”

In order to claim a spot in the GBRP, the newly commissioned officers undergo a competitive application process, which includes a personal written statement and a video explaining their strengths, qualifications and why they should be selected as a GBR. Applicants must also have an endorsement from their detachment commander.

“The goal of this process is to select well-rounded individuals with exceptional communication skills and a strong desire to go out and recruit the next generation of Air and Space Force leaders,” said Smith.

After securing a seat, the second lieutenants attend Gold Bar Recruiter Training on Maxwell AFB, Alabama. To prepare for their yearlong mission, the recruiters take lessons on topics to include presentation skills, senior leader perspective, total force recruiting and Air Force ROTC incentives and programs. Among the duties of the Gold Bar Recruiters are assisting candidates throughout the ROTC application process as well as attending virtual conferences, community events and speaking engagements.