Beacon of Hope History
The story of the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance is closely linked with that of Nehemiah Manufacturing and with Dan Meyer. With over 30 years of Consumer Packaged Goods experience with both large, multi-national companies and over the past 17 years as an entrepreneurial co-founder of two start-up companies, Dan Meyer teamed up with strategic business planner Richard Palmer in 2008 to create a company that would bring needed change to the Cincinnati community. They went to city government, social services, and community leaders and asked the question – what do you need most that we can provide…donations, thought leadership? The answer came back: jobs for the hard-to-hire. In 2009, Nehemiah intentionally established their operation in Cincinnati’s West End to bring hope for hard-to-hire individuals by providing stable, entry-level jobs, whole life coaching, and a heart to help. The mission – Build Brands. Create Jobs. Change Lives. (click for more)
With the support of P&G, Nehemiah licensed several of their smaller brands and was successful in regaining upward sales momentum and growth year after year. The original business model was to match one hard-to-hire employee with two regular hires. The expectation at the time was that this approach would yield a cost of 3 employees and the production of 2.5. As they carried out the plan, they discovered a dramatic shift in the outcome – the cost of those 3 was generating output of 4! It wasn’t always a smooth road, they learned from mistakes along the way – including hiring off of the street corner on occasion. But over the years they discovered many social service organizations equipped to prepare these citizens to be work-ready after incarceration.
Today, Nehemiah employs 75 FTEs in their production, manufacturing and warehousing operation with a full 66% of those being Returning Citizens. COO, Mike Pachko comments, “These employees sometimes carry the baggage of a troubled past. But I’ll tell you, the ones who appreciate the second chance and are open to change become super-workers. For performance and positive spirit, I’d put our manufacturing team up against anyone – anywhere.”
But the supply of talent vastly exceeds the ability of Nehemiah to offer each of them jobs. Each year on average 2,000 people are returning to Hamilton County from incarceration. Even with plans to double the size of the operation, hiring 100 of these hard-working Second Chance Citizens would barely make a dent. So in 2015, Dan and Richard set into motion plans to team with other businesses engage other businesses in providing critically needed jobs. In April, they assembled leaders from business, government, church, and social services network to kick off the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance.
The mission over time is to expose 2,500 new jobs each year to the Second Chance population by creating awareness, providing a proven process and easy access to an ecosystem of social support. Along the way, they found many other businesses that discovered success in this space to help carry the banner and create change on a dramatically larger scale than any single company could.
The Beacon of Hope
Business Alliance is here.
CHANGE IS UNDERWAY.
Everyone who needs a Second Chance to work and change their life – gets that chance.
To expose 2500 Second Chance job opportunities in Hamilton County each year by inspiring and equipping employers to embrace this cause.
INSPIRE more companies to provide Second Chance employment
RAISE AWARENESS of the need and proven business benefits
LEVERAGE ECOSYSTEM of social services and incentives for Second Chance support
SHARE BEST PRACTICES and resources
Membership in the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance is free. But you can support us in our mission to bring about greater awareness, provide a process and best practices in developing Second Chance Citizen talent, engaging a social service ecosystem and sharing resources to change lives and enhance our community. Everyone has their own benefit that they derive for wanting to be a part of it. What’s yours?
EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE
You have had critically needed second chances in your life. We all have. It’s human to seek justice. But after that, it’s also human to seek mercy. To forgive. To build each other up to be all we can be. It’s simply the right thing to do.
LOWER TURNOVER/ HIGHER PRODUCTION
Not every returning citizen is work-ready. But when you find those who are, they often become the hardest working, most appreciative, most dedicated employees on your team. They have more to prove. Our process helps you more quickly find and develop these gems. The annual turnover for one Beacon of Hope company is 10-15% (a quarter of the traditional rate). Read about the success in reducing turnover from one of our Social Service Affiliates, Cincinnati Works, in the Harvard Business Review.
CHANGE LIVES: HIRE ONE, AFFECT 14
When you offer a job that builds confidence and ultimately leads to self-sufficiency, you elevate more than just one human spirit. You affect the lives of everyone who loves and is intimately connected to that person – children, parents, siblings, family, friends, neighbors. The transformation has a ripple effect.
STRONGER ECONOMY/ SMALLER PRISONS
The annual cost of housing a prisoner in Ohio is $24,700. When employers provide jobs for those out of prison and back in society, they contribute self-sufficiency and stability – two factors that weigh heavily in helping avoid repeat offenses. The effect on our community and economy is doubly positive.
HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION?
If you have thoughts, questions, or comments on how you can engage with the mission of Beacon of Hope? Please fill out the comment box below and someone will be in touch.