Key Findings

Forty-nine percent of job openings pay less than $14.40 an hour, the living wage for a single adult. More than four out of five, 82 percent, pay less than $25.82 an hour, the living wage for a single adult with two children.

For each job opening that pays at least $14.40 an hour, the living wage for a single adult, there are six job-seekers on average. For each job opening that pays at least $25.82 an hour, the living wage for a single adult with two children, there are 16 job-seekers on average.

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Susie Rodriguez – Belgrade, MT

“Everything is expensive.”

Personal Testimony: Susie Rodriguez

I am a Mexican-American woman with a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband, and a job I enjoy. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am, and I plan to continue building my career.
In high school, I had hopes of becoming a doctor, and took Advanced Placement classes so I could get college credits. I was in the top 10 of 300 students in my graduating class — while also working to help my mother support our family of seven. I entered college with enough credits to qualify as a second-year student.

Then I had a medical crisis of my own — I went blind. My eyesight eventually returned, but my college scholarships didn’t, and I couldn’t afford tuition to continue my studies. I took a certification course that cost me about $600 to become a Certified Nurse. Then, with more course work that cost about $800, I became an Emergency Medical Technician.

I now work as an emergency room technician at a local hospital. I work the night shift, from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., three days a week to make $4 more an hour. After seven years, I am up to almost $16 an hour by working nights. I have to work full-time; our family needs the health insurance. I pay for it out of my paycheck, and it isn’t cheap for a family.

Now I’d like to become a Registered Nurse. With a growing family, I’ll have to work and take one course at a time. It’s a lot more expensive that way.

My husband, Luis, works at a local dairy. It takes two of us working full-time just to cover the costs for our family. We can never get ahead. My daughter stays with my mother the nights that I work, and, during the day, she goes to a babysitter so I can sleep. Everything is expensive.

Last Christmas, I took a part-time sales job to catch us up on some bills. Unfortunately, I was so tired that I became ill and ended up in the hospital. It took me a while to recover. I want to do more with my life and my career.

Montana Low Wage Fact Sheet

Click to download PDF.

National Low Wage Nation Report

Click to download PDF.

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