Wiregrass Newsroom: Weakened Economy Brings More Army Enlistments in Dothan

Dothan, AL (WSFA) --  Shanetha Beachum is 37 years old, just married, and leaving home next month, on the brink of a new career in military intelligence.

"It never dawned on me.  It never occurred to me to do it," says Beachum.

But Beachum is in the Army now, and says it's all because finding work in Dothan has been difficult.   But she says the Army is her path to a reliable future.

"I don't see why you wouldn't want to go. There's no worry about it shutting down, or leaving town, or laying off, or cutting hours.   You just don't have to worry about any of that," she says.

Shanetha isn't the only one searching for security.   Army recruiters in Dothan say 20% of this year's applicants are those looking for a stable job in an unstable economy.

"People are starting to look at the Army as a career choice--the stability for them and their family," says Sgt. Gregory Chapman.

Recruiters at the office in Dothan say they see about 20 enlistments per month, but they're expecting to see more than that as January and February roll around.

They say the office has seen seventy more people enlist this year over last.   One key reason to 'go Army?'  Thousands of dollars in signing bonuses and full benefits.

"The Army offers some large incentives to join. When they realize all the benefits, then they all decide to say, ya know, this is a good idea.   I want to give it a try," says Chapman.

And for Shanetha, she is giving it a try and taking a chance for herself and her country.

"Right now I'm not nervous. I'm actually anxious to go. I just really believe I can do it."

Reporter: Melissa McKinney