Rise in unemployment driving many to enlist in military
With unemployment rates on the rise throughout the country, more people are choosing to march to the military recruitment office rather than the unemployment office. Military enrollment is the highest it’s been since the volunteer military started in 1973.
“I decided to join the army because I think it’s the best career decision a young person can make because there are not many jobs out there now with the economy being down,” said new Army recruit Michael Caldwell.
Caldwell is part of a youth troop that’s storming military recruitment offices throughout the country.
For the first time in more than 35 years the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines have all met their recruitment goals, and it’s no different here in the port city.
“We in the Wilmington area have seen a slight increase in the numbers and the quality of personnel that we have been putting in the Army,” said Sgt. John Jones of the Army.
Ninety-five percent of new recruits have at least graduated from high school, and with increasing unemployment it’s easier for many to choose from more than 100 career opportunities offered by the army than applying the old fashioned way.
“So if you want to be that radiologist or the optometry lab specialist you can be that exact person,” Jones said.
With ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many of the newly enlisted will likely go to war. Rather than fighting for jobs, more people are choosing to fight for their country.
“If I wasn’t joining the army, I’d be working in a job that wouldn’t give me any benefits or give me any financial security in the long run,” Caldwell said.
Recruiters say student loans are another incentive driving more young people to the military.
Full-time military members are eligible to receive up to $65,000 to pay back their loans.
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