ERLANGER, Ky. — A Northern Kentucky library system is getting some national attention for having one of the top career change navigation programs in the country.

What You Need To Know

  • Kenton County Public Library offers a robust career navigator program

  • Classes teaching people how to update resumes, interview skills are available

  • Kentucky will resume requiring people seeking unemployment to apply to one job a week

It helped Thorsten Schroeder get back on track. Schroeder was out of work, and trying to figure out his next move in late 2019 into 2020.

It’s a familiar story for so many Americans and Kentuckians, many of whom lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It took a while to get adjusted to it, but then you have two options. You can just sit there and wait until something happens. Or you take ownership,” Schroeder said.

He turned to, of all places, the Kenton County Public Library, which has a robust career program.

Expert instructors teach more than 25 classes, helping people develop their resumes and learn all the skills they need for a successful job hunt.

KCPL’s program ranks 6th out of 6,000 public libraries of similar size in the country.

“It made a significant difference, because I knew a lot of my old job, but I had no idea what my new job, finding a job, is all about, so I had to learn a lot. And these groups really provide that network, that expertise,” Schroeder said.

Natalie Ruppert is the Workforce Development Manager for the library system.

She said when the pandemic hit, and so many people were losing their jobs, many came to the library for help. But there was only so much the library could do in a tough job market.

“Things have changed drastically in the last few months. People are getting hired like crazy,” Ruppert said. “We have a severe labor shortage going on in our area. We don’t have enough people to fill those jobs because of the current situation out there.”

People can access the information on the library’s job search central page.

“It contains all the information that we have gathered for job seekers locally to help anyone from beginner level job seekers, entry level, all the at to professional people,” Ruppert said.

Starting May 9, Kentucky is reinstating the requirement that people seeking unemployment insurance must apply to at least one job a week.

Ruppert said she’s expecting another rush of people, which she said the library will be ready to help get to work.

“We’re very competitive. Most people don’t think of libraries that way,” she said. “It just makes me feel so good to see people come so far. Especially the ones that have beaten themselves up the hardest about how they started. And then they land.”

Schroeder is one of the biggest success stories. He’s now a consultant for an international company, and teaching classes to help others at the library.

While the library is transitioning back to in-person classes, many are still available online. People can meet in person at either the Erlanger or Covington libraries, or via teleconference.