LaMonica Peters

About LaMonica Peters

Reporter and Fill-in Anchor for WCBI News since July 2012. Proudly bringing local news stories to the great people of Columbus.

Video: Income Wage Gap Highest Since 1965

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – You may have heard that getting an education is the key to success and having the American Dream. Now new research is proving that to be true as those with higher levels of education are earning more money.

Even in a recovering economy, employers are looking for people who have a college degree. Bruce Johnson is the Projects Coordinator at The CPI Group, a staffing agency in Columbus.

“It tells the employer, the person you’re promoting yourself to, I have accomplished this,” says Johnson.

Johnson says not having a college degree could cost you thousands in earning power.

“General laborer jobs, you could be looking at as much as $25K, typically it’s $25K or less. Where as if it’s a job that requires a college degree, whether it’s in that field or just one in general. Typically they’re going to start in the low $30Ks,” says Johnson.

A new study from the Pew Research Center shows the wage gap between workers with a high school diploma and a college degree is the largest it’s been since 1965. Though college tuition has sky-rocketed in the last 20 years, statistics show that getting a degree is financially beneficial in the long run. Johnson says in today’s economy, employers require some level of education or training beyond a high school diploma.

“They won’t even interview you or won’t even talk to you until you can show that you’ve got a certain certificate in whatever that is. Be it electrical or any type of industrial maintenance, welding certifications,” says Johnson.

Two-year colleges in the Golden Triangle play a major role in training people to work in local industries. The Mississippi House also recently approved a plan to pay community college tuition for recent high school grads.

The Pew Research study also noted that now 22% of those with a high school diploma are more likely to live in poverty compared to just 7% in 1979.