Wal-Mart has made a commitment to hire 100,000 veterans within the next five years, in a program that will begin on Memorial Day. This is one of the largest hiring commitments ever offered by a company.
First lady Michelle Obama has taken a special interest in employment opportunities for veterans. Obama, who has encouraged companies to hire more veterans, has called Wal-Mart’s new program “historic.”
As reported by VA.gov, as of last October, the unemployment rate for veterans was at 6.3 percent, with post-9/11 veterans at 10 percent. Although trends are showing a slight decrease in unemployment of veterans, the numbers are still high.
As reported by The Washington Post, Wal-Mart’s announcement to hire 100,000 veterans was made by Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s US business. A an annual retail convention, the CEO announced that the company intends to hire the veterans over the next five years.
Simon stated that Wal-Mart is specifically seeking recently, honorably discharged veterans. A majority of jobs offered will be located in Wal-Mart and Sam’s club retail locations and will be offered to veterans having been discharged within the last 12 months.
In his announcement before the National Retail Federation, Simon pointed out why the company chose to focus their attention on hiring veterans:
“Let’s be clear; hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions any of us can make. Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners, and they’re team players. These are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”
Simon further stated that Wal-Mart would be making a commitment to sell more products that originate in the US. The company has faced harsh criticism for failing to utilize local products. Wal-Mart’s plan to incorporate more local products will span over the next ten years.
Currently Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employ more than 1.4 million people in the US. and local products account for around two-thirds of their spending.