Nehemiah Manufacturing: West End company gives felons second chance

CINCINNATI -- Michael Taylor says he’d be in prison if it weren’t for his job.

Taylor works as an operations manager, overseeing several lines at Nehemiah Manufacturing. The company is committed to bringing manufacturing jobs back to inner-city Cincinnati by hiring employees with little to no work history or imperfect criminal records.

The company started in 2009 with just five employees. Now they have nearly 140 employees, including 80 in manufacturing.

Taylor said a lot of lives have been changed through Nehemiah, including his.

Taylor said he was arrested on two felony charges nine years ago. Now, he said he feels like he has lived two lives -- one before Nehemiah and one full of opportunity.

“When I walked through the door they were constantly telling me there’s no limit. You can raise up, raise up, raise up,” Taylor said.

CEO Dan Meyer said he believes in giving people that would otherwise be deemed unemployable a second chance because it’s the right thing to do.

"To see that greatness coming out of each and everyone of those individuals because they were given that chance, that's what gets us up every day,” Meyer said.

Since he started working at Nehemiah five years ago, Taylor has received eight promotions. He said his job gave him the opportunity to buy his first home in Norwood and pay for his wedding.

Now he feels inspired to hold the same values as his employer.

“Someone took a chance on me. I want to take a chance on someone else,” he said. “To be able to guide them in the right direction and to move them to have the same type of future I'm looking forward to."

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