By Debbie Gregory.
Thousands of veterans will be returning home, and the transition will be a challenge.
Employment is of great concern to veterans. American businesses are making more room for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping to drive down the overall unemployment rate for veterans.
Wal-Mart’s President and CEO, William S. Simon, announced the largest hiring commitments for veterans in history on January 15, 2013. Wal-Mart plans to hire more than 100,000 honorably discharged veterans on or after the January 15 date. Wal-Mart already employs 100,000 veterans to date. Wal-Mart has participated in other programs such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.
Wal-Mart joins a renewed effort by corporations to hire veterans. Wal-Mart provides career training and job opportunities for our troops, for successful professional lives both during and after their service in the military. Wal-Mart holds our veterans in high esteem, and is honored to have the opportunity to employ them.
Sam Walton, Wal-Mart’s founder and a former Army intelligence officer, built a solid respect for the military into the foundation of their company – a respect that has only increased through the years. And now, Wal-Mart’s unique size and scale affords the company another opportunity to give back to our nation’s heroes.
The Wal-Mart Foundation has funded a grant to Veterans Green Jobs (VGJ). VGJ will connect 1,000 veterans with training and employment initiatives, and place many of them into full-time, green sector jobs. The grant will support Veterans Green Force, which reaches out nationally to recruit veterans and place them in green jobs; Veteran Green Corps, which trains veterans for conservation jobs on public lands (such as trail building and firefighting); and Go Green Warehouse, which sells reclaimed building products that would otherwise go into landfills.
On April 30, 2013, the New York-based private equity group Blackstone Group announced it would hire 50,000 military veterans over the next five years, across its various businesses. Blackstone has stakes in Hilton Worldwide, Equity Office Properties, Republic Services and AlliedBarton, among other companies. Other firms, including Target Corp.and Home Depot have also set goals of hiring more military veterans.
A number of companies have utilized military recruiting teams, composed mostly of veterans, who can better understand applicants who are veterans. The White House said U.S. businesses have hired or trained 290,000 veterans or military spouses, and have committed to hiring 435,000 more by 2018.
Wal-Mart and the Blackstone Group are certainly doing their part to actively recruit veterans. Wal-Mart values the qualities that veterans bring to the table: pride, leadership and purpose.