A Message from Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Library Director: Career Assistance

The recently released report, Building Better Career Pathways in Hamilton County, opens a new window, provides recommendations for providing sustainable and equitable employment for community members without four-year degrees. Many of the recommendations resonated with me, as the Library has always played a role in developing the workforce in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. We achieve this through four areas of focus:

Focusing on Those Who Need the Most Support

Approximately 56,000 adults in Hamilton County lack a high school diploma. The more education an individual obtains, the better their chances are to earn more income. In addition, studies show that individuals with a high school diploma are less likely to experience unemployment. Besides providing online resources, the Library’s Adult Learning Center regularly offers free basic reading and math skills classes aimed at helping individuals prepare to take the high school equivalency exam. In addition, the Library’s popular Career 101 workshop series is repeated a few times a year and is currently being offered online. The focus is to provide basic information on topics like interviewing, applying for jobs online, and creating a résumé for those who need assistance entering the workforce.

Meeting People Where They Are

With 41 locations available to the public throughout Hamilton County, the Library is a great place to host community events. Earlier this month our Bond Hill Branch hosted an Unemployment Clinic organized by State Reps. Sedrick Denson, Catherine Ingram, Brigid Kelly, and Jessica Miranda. In addition to the state representatives, staff from the Library, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, opens a new window, Hamilton County Community Action Agency, opens a new window, and the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio, opens a new window provided resources and assistance during the event. Hamilton County’s 513 Relief Bus, opens a new window was also present to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations, workforce training, rent, utility, food, and Medicaid application assistance, and more.

In addition to hosting activities at our own locations, we also partner with local organizations like the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, opens a new window and Cincinnati Works, opens a new window to provide laptops and other technology for job fairs and other events they organize out in the community.

Convenient, On-Demand Resources for Job Seekers & Career Changers

Our website offers tens of thousands of online resources for those who are looking for work or for those who want to grow their skills to get a better job, and it’s all free with a library card. Beyond the traditional books and magazine articles, there are on-demand webinars and eCourses through resources such as LinkedIn Learning and Universal Class, as well as live access to job coaches through JobNow.

Fostering Connections and Partnerships

As community members engage with us for job assistance, they often share information about other needs, such as the need for transportation, childcare, and/or rent assistance. By fostering strong partnerships with local agencies and nonprofits we’re able to connect them to these local experts who can provide the wrap-around supports they need for job success. We share updates and receive information from organizations like the Southwest Ohio Workforce Investment Board, opens a new window to ensure that we are up-to-date on workforce activities across the county and to share information about the assistance and resources available at the Library, too.

The Building Better Career Pathways in Hamilton County report also includes recommendations for engaging youth around career exploration and job readiness skills and mindsets. This is an opportunity that we are currently in the planning stages to address beginning in 2022, so stay tuned for more from the Library as we continue to work with local partners to create and sustain a strong workforce.

Finding the right job or pursuing a new career can be challenging. The Library works with individuals to help them navigate this path forward in their lives. For example, earlier this year a staff member at our Covedale Branch was helping a customer with his ongoing job search. After assisting him in submitting 14 different applications to try to find a night shift job that would allow him to care for his sick wife during the day, he found a job that fit his needs. Staff continued to assist him on his employment journey, helping him complete an online new employee orientation so he was ready for the first day at his new job. The customer expressed that he didn't know what he would have done if he hadn't found help at the Library and that the patience, understanding, and compassion that Library staff showed made all the difference.

Read more blog posts from the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Library Director.

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