Richard Palmer, president of Nehemiah Manufacturing, was on a mission. He didn’t know how or when it would happen, he just knew that it would.
He wanted to provide jobs for people in Cincinnati who were unable to find them.
First, he created a company he called Nehemiah, named after the prophet who rallied the inhabitants of Jerusalem to rebuilt the walls to protect their city. The company’s mission is to rebuild the city of Cincinnati by giving people jobs and a “renewed hope for the future.”
The next step was to find a product line. He and his management team at Nehemiah had experience at P&G and in the packaging good industry, so that was the place to start. In 2009 the company secured the license to manage the Pampers Kandoo line of toddler products from P&G.
When he opened the doors, one of the first people who came to him looking for a job was a former felon. Palmer hired him immediately. It worked out so well that currently 90% of his workforce of 130 is comprised of returning citizens, which is the correct term for former felons.
“The loyalty of these workers and the productivity is just amazing,” says Palmer. “It’s been a great business decision with a high rate of retention, which is especially important given the labor shortage.” Nehemiah’s turnover is less than 20%, which is about one-third of what most companies in this industry experiences.