When Katie Schad interned at Nehemiah Manufacturing as an undergraduate Social Work major at Xavier, she liked the experience so much, she continued to work there after graduation.
It has now become her full-time job. Schad, who graduated in 2015, is the business manager for Nehemiah’s nonprofit organization, the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, which helps find jobs for recently incarcerated people trying to get back on their feet after being released.
“Nehemiah has been practicing second-chance hiring and employing returning citizens since 2009 and has had great success,” says the 25-year-old Oakley resident. “It’s my job to manage the relationships between the companies, social services, clients and overall administration of the 501c3.”
Two years ago, Nehemiah, which hires hard-to-hire employees to run their manufacturing plant in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, started Beacon of Hope to expand job opportunities for returning prison inmates. Among the hard-to-hire, 80 percent have a criminal record.
The group of over 50 companies and community partners is willing to take a chance on hiring former inmates. The Alliance has since received 157 referrals and made 101 total hires, she said.
Schad says her interest in social work really piqued while she was a student at Xavier.
“Xavier played a huge role in giving me the confidence and leadership skills to manage an organization,” she says. “It was my education along with my relationships with my peers and professors at Xavier that helped build the foundation for my professional career.”
And now, she’s giving back, as she now has her own Xavier student intern, senior Abby Radford, helping her out—just like she did when she interned at Nehemiah. Radford is also majoring in Social Work.
“I am excited to be able to give back and help her begin her professional life as well,” Schad says.
Feature Image: Katie Schad, center, and friends at a Xavier event.