The headlines and pictures from Iraq are grim these days, especially with the surge in violence as the national election approaches.

But progress is being made in pockets across the country, and FOX News traveled there to see.

Libraries have expanded, women’s centers have cropped up and in a northern city called Irbil (search), an international airport is opening in the hopes that the region will one day promote tourism.

The spate of attacks on U.S. troops and the Iraqis working with them has slowed down the reconstruction, according to officials there. So has the sabotage of oil pipelines and other crucial projects by former Saddam Hussein (search) regime loyalists.

“There is a security situation in this country that is not particularly conducive to the kind of reconstruction and the schedules we’d like to have,” said Ambassador Bill Taylor, director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (search).

But there's hope. At a power plant in Kirkuk, about 1,200 new jobs went mostly to Iraqis. The people there want the same things everyone else does, said the plant's manager: work, education and food for their children.

"Hopefully, this job helps them to do that."

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Heather Nauert.