Published: Sep 10, 2010 9:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 10, 2010 6:27 PM EDT

The poor economy in Southwest Florida is not affecting one field:  military recruiting.   The Pentagon says all branches of the armed services are meeting their goals for recruits, and even the number of college graduates who enlist, is going up sharply.

"We are seeing the college grads come in from time to time," said Staff Sgt. Ivan Lainiz of the Marine Corps recruiting office in Ft. Myers.    "And there is no denying that some people do come in,  just because they cannot find work.   But most of our people want to be part of something bigger than themselves, to be part of the best.   The Marines do not compromise on the people we bring in."

The Pentagon says the number of recruits with 4-year  college degrees rose 17 percent in 2009, compared to 2008.   The number with 2-year college degrees also went up in '09.   The military believes the poor economy is pushing more grads to enlist in a service, where they can broaden their skills and get benefits.

WINK News talked with some students at Fla. Gulf Coast University.    Most said, they would not like to join the military, because they are determined to make it in private business.   However, junior John Valenty said:   he had at least thought about the military, because that would be a way to learn discipline, get into excellent physical shape, and learn skills for the future.   But he added, he hopes to make it in accounting before  looking at other options, such as the military.