This Memorial Day weekend will kick off the start of a program Wal-Mart Corp. (NYSE:WMT) announced back in January, called the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, an initiative to hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years.
Wal-Mart publicized its commitment to the pledge in San Diego last week, during an event called Saluting Heroes Together, at a Walmart Supercenter.
The program, which will require Wal-Mart to double the number of veterans it has currently working for the retail giant, has been applauded by First Lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Jim Knotts, CEO of the veteran-support group Operation Homefront, who have worked together on many initiatives to find work for former military members, as either business owners or employees.
For the estimated 1.2 million veterans expected to be discharged in the next five years and released into the workforce, Wal-Mart might seem like a good solution, as more than 4,000 of its stores are located in the U.S. with 1.4 million associates worldwide. Gary Profit, Wal-Mart’s Senior Director for Military Programs, sees it as a win-win situation, saying, “We want to hire veterans and members of military families, because it is in fact good for our business.”
And he’s probably right. Veterans work well under pressure, are quick learners, and are used to working as a team, said Bill Simon, former president and CEO of Walmart U.S. back in January after the company first made its announcement.
Profit also said that he hopes Wal-Mart will serve as an example to other retailers who also can drive the veteran unemployment rate down.
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