Ensuring That Everyone Gets a Fair Chance

Beacon of Hope was founded in 2016 to expand practices of hiring and supporting people with criminal records among employers in Greater Cincinnati.

People returning to the workforce with a record often have tremendous difficulty in finding a job — a crucial step in getting back on their feet and building a better life. Not only that, but people of color are disproportionately affected, particularly the black community. These inequities further erode the already disadvantaged position of those individuals to realize opportunities for economic advancement.

Beacon of Hope accelerates the essential work of building greater equity into the Greater Cincinnati community – while also supporting diverse employers and the creation of more diverse workplaces. This work is particularly important in the Greater Cincinnati community with its history of racial tension and significant racial disparities in childhood poverty. By providing economic opportunities to these otherwise excluded people, Beacon of Hope aims to rebalance the scales of economic, racial, social, and criminal justice all toward greater equity.

Beacon of Hope, now operated by Cincinnati Works, owes tremendous gratitude to program founders Dan Meyer and Richard Palmer of Nehemiah Manufacturing, as well as the many generous and innovative companies we’ve partnered with to help build our program and improve lives.

Today, we’re focused on improving lives, seeking out opportunities, and creating an equitable hiring environment that gives everyone the chance to succeed, no matter their past.

Vision

To give everyone — no matter their past — a fair chance at finding work.

Mission

To inspire and equip employers to give opportunities to people who were previously incarcerated who want a fair chance at getting hired and improving their lives.

Objectives

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

Company Benefits

  • Fill your open roles with reliable, hard-working candidates
  • Access resources to help your new hires achieve long-term success
  • Join an employer community of inclusive, community-minded best places to work

Moral Case:

EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE AT REDEMPTION

None of us want to be judged by our worst mistakes, and all of us would want an opportunity to make amends and be better. Justice holds a crucial place in our society as does forgiveness and building each other back up. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Business Case:

LOWER TURNOVER/ GREATER PRODUCTIVITY

Think about a time when someone helped you unexpectedly. How do you remember that person? How would you thank them? Employers in the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance frequently find some of their hardest working, most appreciative, and most dedicated employees through these hiring programs. An example, Nehemiah Manufacturing, the Beacon of Hope company with the largest number of ”second chance” hires, has an annual turnover rate of 15%, a quarter of the traditional rate. Higher retention equals less resources allocated to training new hires, more continuity, and ultimately, greater outcomes. Read more about their success in the Harvard Business Review.

Community Case:

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, friends, and neighbors. The transformation has a wide-reaching ripple effect.

Social Case:

STRONGER ECONOMY/ SMALLER PRISONS

The annual cost of housing a prisoner in Ohio is $30,557 per person, according to Ohio.gov.  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 avoiding repeat offenses. Breaking that cycle not only reduces those significant costs but also contributes positively through tax revenue – a double benefit to society. The effect on our community and economy is twice as impactive.

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If you have thoughts, questions, or comments on how you can engage with the mission of Beacon of Hope, reach out below.

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