The Times West Virginian

Daily Grind

May 3, 2009

The ROTC path

Road to employment clear

As the economic situation worsens, college students will face a fiercely competitive job market after graduation. But for West Virginia University Army ROTC cadets, the road to employment is clear.

This spring semester, 19 WVU students will become Army officers as commissioned 2nd Lieutenants after graduation. In a commissioning ceremony on May 15th, these young Americans will receive their first salutes and will officially start their careers as Army officers.

“It takes a lot of pressure off to not have to search for a job in such tough economic times,” senior Scott Roett said. Cadet John Hein, who will become a Military Intelligence officer, enters active duty June 1st. Hein said that it was a relief to not have to search for a job by attending job fairs or worrying about perfecting his resume.

“I have a guaranteed job,” Hein said. “It is a job I know I am going to like. If I ever decide I have had enough of the Army, I will have the leadership dimension along with technical skills on my resume. Being an Army officer will give me the discipline and experience I will need for the civilian world when I am ready to get a job there.”

According Lt. Col. Matthew Sampson, professor of military science, there are currently around 100 cadets contracted with ROTC at WVU, with 67 of those cadets receiving a full college scholarship. The scholarship pays 100 percent of tuition and fees. All contracted cadets are also provided with a monthly stipend of up to $500 and $600 for books each semester.

Many of the non-scholarship cadets are members of the Army National Guard, which also provides tuition assistance. The WVU program has already promised scholarships to several incoming high school seniors who will be freshmen in the fall.

Sampson said the number of contracted cadets has been rising since 2003. However, Sampson said that he cannot personally cite the economy as the main reason for this trend.

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