Her position does not require certification as a nursing assistant, but she is required to participate in job training such as seminars on understanding Alzheimer's disease and how to keep patients active. Troisi said the job training could be beneficial to her career in the long run.
"Absolutely, I can take what I'm learning here and take it to some other facilities that pay more, like state facilities," she said.
The surveys revealed widespread pessimism among low-wage workers, many of whom see themselves as worse off than before the recession and view their jobs as a dead end. Half said they were "not too" or "not at all" confident their current jobs will help them achieve long-term career goals.
Both employers and workers place most of the responsibility for career advancement on the individual worker, with 81 percent of employers and 78 percent of workers saying the worker shares a lot or almost all the burden. But 73 percent of workers and 78 percent of employers say that employers share at least a moderate amount of the obligation to help workers find better jobs.
By contrast, fewer than half of low-wage workers think federal, state or local government bears more than a little of the responsibility for helping workers move ahead.
The surveys were sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, the Hitachi Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago. The Joyce Foundation works to improve workforce development and education systems to assist job seekers who may lack skills or credentials. The Hitachi Foundation aims to expand business practices that improve economic opportunities for less well-off workers while benefiting business.
The worker survey was conducted online using the GfK KnowledgePanel and by telephone by interviewers from NORC from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012. The employer survey was conducted online and by phone by NORC from Nov. 12, 2012, through Jan. 31, 2013. The margin of sampling error for the survey of workers was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points; for employers, it was 4.5 points.
Associated Press News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and AP writer Stacy A. Anderson contributed to this report.