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Nehemiah Manufacturing - A Cincinnati-based Company Changing Lives through Fair-Chance Hiring

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

1. Changing lives through offering employment

More than 600,000 people reenter society every year after incarceration. If we take under consideration misdemeanor charges, one-third of Americans have some kind of criminal record. It makes it hard for them to find good job opportunities that could potentially help them work for a better future. Many people with records struggle to find employment, and even if they do, they frequently have to settle for unpredictable hours and pay. As Dan Meyer puts it in his article:

“These realities effectively lock former convicts into a form of perpetual labor market punishment and sink their communities into a deeper cycle of generational poverty. “

Changing the perception of employers about hiring people with criminal backgrounds does not happen overnight, however, more and more second-chance employers are willing to take the initiative to implement fair-chance hiring processes. As a great example, Dan Meyer founded Nehemiah Manufacturing, a Cincinnati-based manufacturing company that produces consumer goods, in 2009. Their mission is to help society by offering job opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals and offer services to help them rebuild their lives.

2. Boost your business with second-chance hiring

According to Meyer, hiring formerly incarcerated individuals is the key to their success. 80% of the company’s workforce are second-chance workers. Meyer highlights that it is not only beneficial to hire this pool of talent because of the social aspects, but it is also a smart business move:

“In the goods manufacturing space, turnover runs between 40% to 90% per year, representing a sizable, perpetual hemorrhage that jeopardizes operating efficiency. At Nehemiah, with annual revenues exceeding $60 million, we boast almost 170 Second Chance employees working across formulation and manufacturing lines, eCommerce, and leadership positions. And our turnover rate is five times less than the industry average. Our hires are happier, more engaged, more committed to their work because we give them the tools to succeed at work and in life, from housing and drug rehabilitation services to mental health support.”

Being socially responsible also gets a great response from the consumers. Knowing that the company is not just working for profit, but trying to give back to society through providing competitive job opportunities to justice-involved individuals gives existing and potential customers an additional reason to support the brand.

3. Tips on implementing fair-chance hiring as an employer

When employers make the decision to tap into this pool of talent, they often don’t know where to start. Meyer’s article points out important tips on how to implement second-chance hiring practices and the steps businesses should consider before starting their journey:

  1. Connect with community partners: One of the most effective ways to start is to connect with local social service agencies. It allows companies to gain access to valuable knowledge and expertise that supports formerly incarcerated people with job training, housing, food assistance, and mental health counseling.

  2. Develop listening sessions: Understanding each individuals’ unique experience will help employers get ahead of challenges their justice-involved employees may face. Listening is the best way to help them overcome their barriers.

  3. Provide a clear career path: Having clear career goals will create motivation and engagement. Employers should also support their staff with education and incentives in order to reach these set goals.

  4. Learn as you go: It is important to listen to the employees and re-evaluate a process from time to time if it is necessary. It is important to listen to feedback and be flexible when it comes to change.

  5. Cultivate a culture of care: Caring about the employees and supporting them through their struggles is one of the most important steps in generating employee satisfaction and developing a strong team.

Read Meyer’s whole article here:

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