In the midst of what many are still calling a recession, who would have thought many workers would leave the employment line? New studies show more young women are looking for better than the average jobs. I interviewed four graduate students, each vying for a masters or a PHD.
"I taught in public schools and did some other work for several years and I always kind of thought I would go back to grad school and it just didn't happen immediately," said Kelli O'Brien.
Many experts thought the shrinking labor market was caused by older workers giving up on finding a job, but new numbers show more younger women, who are often the head of the household, are taking a chance on school with hopes a higher degree will pay off.
"I work sometimes all day. I have a child to care for and then, I have school obligations so there are some sacrifices to make in order to make this happen, but to me it's worth it. I think it will pay off in the end," said grad student Alaina Mount.
There are several reasons why younger women are leaving the workforce for school including: women still earn less than men and they prefer not to take a night-shift or a weekend shift because of family responsibilities. Also, more women prefer to take a chance on the future by getting a higher degree, in an effort to increase their earning potential.
Grad student Sara Hoover said, "I knew that graduate school was a way for me to inch closer to a career that would be personally and professionally satisfying."
Working for the degree also means repaying thousands of dollars from financial aid or loans. Tuition increases continue to outpace inflation, but many students are banking on monetary awards and graduate assistantships to outweigh what's owed once they graduate.
"It's an investment in myself, it's an investment in my future, so to me the monetary and missing my family are short term sacrifices that will pay off," said Hoover.
And, by the sheer number of female students in school, the job market is uncertain, which means it's still a wait and see to what happens after graduation.