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'Not just a job, but a path to a better life': Second chance employer Nehemiah Manufacturing expands

Nehemiah Manufacturing employees
Posted at 8:50 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 23:30:26-05

CINCINNATI — The smell of turkey and all the Thanksgiving fixings filled the air inside the cafeteria of Nehemiah Manufacturing Tuesday — a cause for celebration as it was the first time the company has held its annual luncheon for employees since the beginning of the pandemic.

It’s also a cause for thankfulness.

"When I walked through the doors of Nehemiah, there was hope. There was opportunity," said Michael Taylor, a 10-year employee at Nehemiah Manufacturing.

While many focus on grabbing seconds, Taylor said he’s grateful for the 'second chance' Nehemiah Manufacturing provided.

"My past has been drug addiction, alcoholism, which culminated in to two felonies for breaking and entering," he said. "To be able to turn your life around when you didn’t see any hope at that time, it means the world to me to have that second chance."

Nehemiah Manufacturing started in 2009 with a mission: build brands, create jobs and change lives. Eric Wellinghoff, chief marketing officer for the company, said they’re doing the latter in a unique way.

"We’re one of the first nationally to embrace hiring second chance employees — folks who are otherwise hard to hire, some barrier to employment, primarily a felony on their record, where other people wouldn’t even consider them for employment," Wellinghoff said. "What we found is that these employees became our most loyal, hardest working and best employees we can have. This is great for the community and great for business."

He said roughly 150 of the 200 employees working for the company are considered 'second chance' workers.

Nehemiah Manufacturing has grown over the past decade due in large part to a relationship with Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble. Nehemiah handles the production, marketing and sales of cleaning, baby care and fabric care products.

Wellinghoff said the company’s focus is aimed at helping the Lower Price Hill area. In 2019, Nehemiah revitalized a building there, creating a $13 million warehouse facility.

Friday, the company doubled down with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a second facility, a $5 million fulfillment center.

"With COVID and the growth of e-commerce, we’ve found that’s another place we can add value to the supply chain," Wellinghoff said.

The addition of the facility will also add between 25-30 jobs — 30 more lives that could be impacted.

"It has the ripple effect — affects their lives, their families' lives," said Taylor. "It means a lot to be able to continue to grow, and to continue to help people."

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