Having previously owned a mortgage company that marketed to the whole state (meaning that I drove to people's houses all over the state) I can tell you that there are economically depressed areas. Examples would be the French Lick/Paoli area down South. That said even in those communities you would be hard pressed to find an RN making less than $14.00 per hour. In Indianapolis, my wife earned $25.00/hr with a $5,000 bonus the day she walked out of nursing school with her ASN. I'm still in nursing school and earn between $12 and $15.00 per hour as a home health aide depending on the shift.
High gas prices shouldn't discourage someone earning lower wages from commuting. For example someone who lives in Terra Haute who earns $12.00/hour might say that Indianapolis (an hour each way) was too far to commute. However, if he/she could instead earn $18.00/hr in Indy that translates to about $750.00 in additional income each month. The extra gas and car maintenance might run you $200.00 per month still more than a $500.00 each month in extra income. In addition, I was always struck by families living in near poverty conditions in rural areas (where jobs were sparce and pay was low) who wouldn't even consider commuting or even perhaps moving. There is great opportunity in this nation and state if you are willing to take advantage of it. Currently, I commute two hours each way to nursing school. No one ever said that it was supposed to be easy.
Also, I know that Saint Vincents, Community Hospitals, Saint Francis, and Clarion all have tuition reinbursement programs (these are all Marion County/Indy area facilities).