Ahead of Memorial Day, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has hired 130,828 veterans since rolling out its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment three years ago. Of those veteran hires, 15,176 have been promoted to jobs at the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer with higher pay and greater responsibility.
Back on Memorial Day 2013, Walmart introduced the commitment, which guaranteed a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty. The company’s initial aim was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. In May 2015, however, Walmart expanded the original projection to 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020, and also changed the eligibility to any veteran who was honorably discharged since launching the initiative.
Although unemployment among veterans is at its lowest in eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gulf War-era vets are still under- or unemployed.
“As a veteran, I know how critical it is for our men and women in uniform to have a strong support structure when transitioning back to civilian life,” said retired Brigadier Gen. Gary Profit, senior director of military programs for Walmart. “A job is an important part of that transition, and at Walmart, we’re proud to use our strengths as one of the nation’s largest employers to be a part of that bridge back home by providing meaningful opportunities for 130,828 veterans – and counting – to use their unique talent and skills. Veterans are among some of our strongest associates, and we are pleased to see the growth and success they have achieved at Walmart.”
Beyond the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the Walmart Foundation is helping military members and their families transition to civilian life with $2.6 million in grants to the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program ($1 million) and Swords to Plowshares ($1.6 million), both of them nonprofit organizations that support veteran reintegration.
“Veterans make great additions to the workforce,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation. “Our men and women in uniform should have easy access to services needed for a successful reintegration. The American GI Forum and Swords to Plowshares have a proven track record of streamlining services and we’re proud to support them.”
Additionally, in October 2015, Walmart launched the Greenlight A Vet campaign to help create visible, actionable national support for veterans nationwide. The campaign encouraged all Americans to show their support by changing one light bulb in their home to green, raising awareness on social media, volunteering and serving with local veteran groups, or starting a mentor-mentee relationship with a vet.
Walmart operates 11,527 stores under 63 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.