Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Main Library You see it splashed across newspapers and media sites everywhere. “Unemployment at all-time low!” “Booming job market!” But these headlines often offer an incomplete picture. While it’s true that unemployment is at a record low, the poverty rate and wage gap, by both gender and race, are increasing. Starting a small business still takes a huge leap of faith (not to mention capital). Many folks work several jobs and still can’t afford to support their families. There is still an imbalance in the payoff of advanced degrees. That’s why during May, the Library is focusing on career advancement. We don’t want to connect people with just any job, we want to connect them with good jobs; ones that will be an important part of breaking everything from the cycle of poverty to the glass ceiling. There are many oppressive systems at play that keep people from meaningful work with livable wages. Barriers such as reliable transportation, affordable child care, a criminal record, housing, or behavioral health issues can keep people from maintaining work or advancing within their jobs. So, we’ve partnered with experts from Cincinnati Works , the Veterans Administration , and Cincinnati State to begin addressing some of those barriers. Together we’ve created services and programming that can help members of the community level up their job skills. While many of these services are offered by the Library year round, we’re doubling down our efforts to address the different needs of our neighbors to achieve their career aspirations. Knowledge sharing is a key component of this mission. Over the course of the month in the atrium of the Main Library, we’ll be hosting demonstrations of job training software Treehouse and Lynda.com , and providing other job and career resources from our collection. We’ll also have Adult Learning Center staff at a pop-up station offering résumé tips, review, and resources. Every Wednesday in May, Cincinnati Works is providing Advance You Lunch-and-Learn workshops from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Main Library. These workshops are designed to help people who are currently employed advance by securing more prosperous, fulfilling positions. They will also provide personal finance management for people advancing in the job market. Another area of focus is providing connections to certification programs and tech vocational opportunities. To address this, Cincinnati State and their Career Coach services are providing workshops at the Avondale Branch (noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8) and the Main Library (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9) to address the idea of stackable degrees and more. It also happens that May 5-11 marks National Small Business Week. We’ll showcase our Library’s many small business resources in the Main Library atrium May 7-9 from noon-2 p.m. Meanwhile, MakerSpace will host an exhibit of all the small business promotional materials that can be created in the MakerSpace at an affordable price. Our experts often provide resources and assistance to local small businesses, from banners to business cards, and everything in between. More workshops with our community partners on a range of career advancement topics will continue to take place over the course of the month. To wrap things up, Cincinnati Works will host a community conversation that explores the meaningfulness and the myths surrounding the necessity of livable wages to help break the cycle of poverty. According to a recent NPR segment, workers everywhere are in a unique position to demand more. With so many open jobs, and employers eager to fill them, now is the perfect time to ask for higher pay, better benefits, and other incentives. Many workers don’t realize the power they hold, particularly when then band together. With a strong economy and a job surplus, now is the time to level up. Whether you’re experiencing job loss, underemployment, burn out, or simply want to take your career in a new and exciting direction, we’re here to help empower you to unlock your potential. It’s our duty and desire to invest in our communities and help them thrive. Providing ongoing job resources and support is one of the many ways we’re doing just that. Stay tuned for more Career Advancement Month information at your local branch, the Main Library, and on our website .