The Cost of Finding a High Paying Job

April 11, 2007 - Posted at 5:55 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD-It seems the rich keep getting richer and the poor continue to get left out.

A recent report shows the median weekly salary for Americans is about $671.

On average, full time workers with a high school diploma earn about $560 a week, while those with a college degree earn around $987 a week.

So just how hard is it to land those higher paying jobs in rural Arkansas?Michelle Messer recalls her job search after she moved from Little Rock to Paragould.

"It was very, very difficult. This town is a lot smaller than what I'm used to. It was more coming to a foreign city and not knowing anybody to be able to get your foot in the door anywhere. That was a big challenge for me."

Making it an even bigger problem was not only the scarcity of jobs, but the types of jobs available.

"For me being a woman, it was harder to find a job that was more of a clerical or banking job. That's what my experience is, and not industrial or farming," said Messer.

For job searchers who seem to have hit a brick wall, they often times open the door into job placement services for help.

"We are seeing folks that are coming in that possess good work history, good work ethic, and the skill sets, but they are having a hard time getting their foot in the door," said Scott Holden of Express Personnel.

Luckily for Michelle, she made the right move.

"I came in that day, filled out my application, took their testing so they could check my qualifications. By the time I got home that afternoon I already had two interviews set up for the next day," said Messer.

However, not all applicants have what it takes to reach for the higher paying jobs.

"They want to work, but they may not possess the skill sets that the company is looking for. That's very frustrating for someone that wants to get out and earn those higher wages," said Holden.

"Definitely a pay difference. It's something you have to get used to, but the cost of living here is a lot cheapers as far as your utilities and taxes and stuff go. It kinda washes out a little bit, but it's still a little different," said Messer.

No matter the pay, the jobs are there, it's just a matter of finding them.

"That's the most rewarding part to us is to see the transition from the frustrated unemployed person to the grateful picking up their first check person," said Holden.Welders, C.N.C. machine operators, and teachers are some of the jobs in highest demand here in Region eight.

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