By Erica Spaid Patras, GOPC Manager of Special Projects
Nehemiah is a fully operating for-profit manufacturing plant that has been in operation since 2009. Nehemiah packages and manufactures several lines for P&G, such as Boogie Wipes, Downey, Draft and Febreeze. Nehemiah owns Kandoo and Boogie wipes then licenses under P&G products in the Downy, Dreft and Febreez lines. From its inception, Nehemiah has practiced what they call second chance hiring of hard-to-employ and formerly incarcerated workers. Today, Nehemiah employs 150 individuals and 80-85% of their workforce has a criminal record.
Nehemiah’s program revolves around providing social services and support to workers returning from incarceration. Nehemiah employs a full-time social worker social support team of 3 and partners with a host of social service agencies in the Cincinnati area, such as City Link Center, The HELP Program, The Life Learning Center, City Gospel Mission/Jobs Plus, and Cincinnati Works. The social support team meets with each new worker to conduct a full assessment of the worker’s immediate barriers to employment. Together they evaluate things like housing stability, available transportation, drug and alcohol issues, mental health issues and outstanding fees and fines to develop a plan to remove the barriers that have historically kept that individual from holding a job.
In nine years of operating, Nehemiah has had 170 employees pass through their program and maintains a low 15% turnover rate, which has helped provide the business justification for the company’s mission-driven focus. Nehemiah attests that their hard-to-employ workers who appreciate the second chance become extremely loyal and productive “super workers.”
By 2015, Nehemiah was receiving more referrals for workers than they had openings so they created a non-profit, Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, to scale up their efforts and bring other companies interested in practicing second chance hiring together. There are now 60+ companies participating within the Beacon of Hope Alliance, like Kroger Manufacturing, West Chester Gear, JBM Packaging, Hillman Group, Holland Roofing, and many other smaller companies. Beacon of Hope now places 400+ people in manufacturing, construction and cleaning jobs annually.
For more information about Nehemiah Industries and Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, contact Katie Schad, email@example.com