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College Grads Turning To Army, Instead Of Unemployment

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many people with college degrees are learning their education does not guarantee them a job.

So, a record number of grads are choosing the Army as a way to get out of the ranks of the unemployed.

A new generation of the American soldier is emerging and the economy is helping shape this wave of educated Americans entering the Army.

“We teach the brightest and the best to join the United States Army and they become successful,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Antolik.

Antolik, an Army recruiter, said the number of college graduates looking for careers in the Army is on the rise.

“We’ve seen probably a 50- to 75-percent increase in college graduates here in the past two to three years,” he said.

In 2009, more than 675,000 men and women were enlisted in the United States Army — 66,000 of those soldiers have a bachelor’s degree and 22,000 others have their master’s degree.

“I didn’t find any job opportunities and I have a family to support, so what I decided was the Army was a good opportunity to support my family and get some real good training,” said Brian Heuring.

Heuring graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brown College. For more than a year, he did odd jobs, finding nothing in his field — until now.

He is now an Officer Candidate and he said being able to pay off college attracted him to a life in the military.

“Colleges are very expensive these days and the Army has an opportunity where it can pay up to $65,000 of your student loans in a three-year period,” Heuring said.

But you must qualify to get in and only two out of every 10 applicants are accepted — further proof that the Army can be selective because the best of the best are fighting to get in.

Recruiters say 65 percent of Army jobs are non-combat related.

In other words, fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq is not guaranteed with an enlistment.

Right now, recruiters are meeting their recruiting goals.

Minnesota ranks fifth in the United States for the number of high school graduates who enter the Army.

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