LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - In this job market, having strategies and skills can make a big difference. Having an education may be your only defense against the unemployment line.
For Maria Juarez, who dropped out of school in the 10th grade, It was decision time.
"Yes, I had to," said Juarez. "These days women, they need an education."
The mother of three says she's getting her GED after dropping out of school 10 years ago. She faces a job market that is shrinking and getting more demanding.
"You can not compete anymore with just a high school credential or GED, you have to go on to college get a marketable trade," said Bobbie McGee-Benson, the Kilgore College Adult Education Program Director.
The graduates of Kilgore College Adult Education Program all understand jobs will be harder to get.
"I figured it was time for me to do something and get out there and this program helped me do that," said Starla Williams, 23, who is wanting to become a para legal.
Some are entering the job hunt for the first time. Others know to do better they'll have to be better educated.
"Well, I was nervous, but I know there is competition and the only way to do it is to get an education," said Williams.
"My children inspired me to further my education, and I want to inspire other mothers to do the same thing," said Juarez.
They've taken the first step but no there's more to be done.
"We give you the rod and reel, you have the bait, go forth and fish," said McGee-Benson.
"Now, I know my chances are greater," said Juarez.
And all of Friday's GED recipients have made that first step to marketability. They have enrolled in classes at Kilgore College.