When Johnnie -- or Joannie -- comes marching home, it could well be to a job at Walmart.
The world's largest retailer says that beginning Memorial Day ,it will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Most of the jobs will be in Walmart stores and clubs, and some will be in distribution centers and the home office.
“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” said Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon. “Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They 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.”
Walmart says the pledge is not the end of this effort -- it’s the beginning. The company projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans during the next five years.
“We believe Walmart is already the largest private employer of veterans in the country, and we want to hire more,” added Simon, speaking at the National Retail Federation’s annual BIG Show. “I can think of no better group to lead in revitalizing our economy than those who have served in uniform. Through their service, veterans give us a land of freedom. When they return, it must be to a land of possibility.”
Walmart has spoken with the White House about this commitment. The First Lady’s team immediately expressed an interest in working with Walmart and with the entire business community to join forces to build upon this commitment.
In the next several weeks, the White House will convene the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and major American employers to encourage businesses to make significant commitments to train and employ America’s returning heroes.
Stamp of approval
“This is exactly the kind of act we hoped would be possible when we started Joining Forces - a concrete example of our nation's love and support that our troops, veterans, and their families can feel in their lives every day,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “As our wars come to an end and our troops continue to come home, it's more important than ever that all of us -- not just government, but our businesses and nonprofits as well -- do our part to serve those who have served us so bravely. So today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Walmart's lead by finding innovative solutions that both make sense for their workplaces and make a difference for our veterans and their families. Given what we've seen from Walmart and so many other companies over the past two years, we know that they will.”
Simon also called on the retail industry to work together to provide greater career opportunities for veterans.
“Imagine what retail could do together,” said Simon. “We could leave an incredible legacy as an industry. We can be the ones who step up for our heroes. And we can do this now.”