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Beacon News: Economy spikes rise in military enlistment

This article first appeared in The Beacon student newspaper on March 3, 2009.

By Katie Schnack

Military recruitment rates are up and some think the increase is due to the unstable economy.  With a 7.6 percent national unemployment rate, the highest rate in decades, more and more people are turning to the military for job security and financial assistance.

According to the Department of Defense, all United States military services and reserve components met or exceeded their recruitment needs for January 2009. The Marine Corps Reserve surpassed its goal of 567 enlistees by 55 percent.

Sergeant Ben Carmen, a local National Guard recruitment officer, acknowledges the ties between the economy and the recent jump in military enrollment rates.

“I’ve had people say the economy is a motivator,” Carmen said. “It’s a secure job.  Job security is a big deal. People are getting laid off.”

The increase in enlistment rate has not only brought more names to roster lists but has also allotted military personnel the luxury of competitive entrance. Since many people are trying to get into the       military, recruiters can now focus on quality instead of quantity when selecting who is  admitted, Carmen said.

“We get tons of people coming into my office or calling, so recruitment isn’t an issue any more; it’s qualification,” Carmen said.

As the new Reserve Officers’ Training Corps kicks off its first year at Palm Beach Atlantic University, students enrolled are committed to eight years of military service after university graduation in exchange for free tuition and other financial perks. Continue reading

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