San Diego County CA— On Tuesday, Walmart announced it has hired 130,828 veterans since introducing its “Veterans Welcome Home Commitment” in May 2013*, including 5,330 in the State of California – representing a 43% increase in veteran hires in the state in just the last year alone. Of the veterans hired nationally since 2013, 15,176 have already been promoted within the company to jobs with higher pay and greater responsibility.
On Memorial Day 2013, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, guaranteeing a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty. The initial goal was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. In May of 2015, Walmart announced the expansion of that original projection, with a goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. Walmart has also changed the eligibility from within 12 months of active duty, to any veteran who has been honorably discharged since the announcement of the commitment in May 2013.
“Walmart has been very welcoming to me and other veterans,” said Donald Channer, department manager at a San Diego-area Walmart. “Walmart recognizes our experience and promotes us to opportunities with high levels of responsibility.”
Despite unemployment among veterans being at its lowest in eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans from the Gulf War era continue to be 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 General, 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 to 5,330 veterans, and counting, in California 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.”
Locally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have supported several veteran and military family-focused organizations in San Diego over the last year, including:
- Armed Services YMCA, which received a $30,000 grant to support its food assistance services for enlisted military members and their families.
- Zero8hundred, which received a $50,000 grant to support its employment and job training services to help post-9/11 veterans secure high-paying jobs.
- Workshops for Warriors, which received a $50,000 grant to provide training and certification to veterans in sought after manufacturing jobs.
“The Armed Service YMCA San Diego is inspired by Walmart’s commitment to hire transitioning Veterans and their continued leadership in our community, said Tim Ney, Executive Director of Armed Services YMCA. “In fact, we still show our support and appreciation everyday by leaving a greenlight ON in the spirit of Walmart’s Greenlight a Vet initiative.”
The Walmart Foundation’s Commitment to Veterans and Military Families
Beyond Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the Walmart Foundation is also reinforcing its support for transitioning military members and their families with the announcement of $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that support veteran reintegration – The American GI Forum and Swords to Plowshares:
- California-based Swords to Plowshares will receive a $1.6 million grant to enhance innovative employment and training programs at the California Veterans Employment and Training Collaborative and the Texas Veterans Employment and Training Collaborative.
- Texas-based American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, which stabilizes veterans through housing and job assistance among other services, will receive a $1 million grant for employment placement assistance.
“Veterans today face a number of unique challenges when it comes to transitioning to civilian life,” said Michael Blecker, U.S. Army veteran and executive director of Swords to Plowshares. “Walmart and the Walmart Foundation understand this challenge, and continue to serve our men and women in uniform both in the workplace and through making investments in programs, like ours, that help veterans reintegrate to civilian life.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting our nation’s military service members. In October 2015, Walmart launched the Greenlight A Vet campaign to help create visible and actionable national support for veterans nationwide. Walmart invited all Americans to show support for veterans by changing one light bulb in their home to green, raising awareness on social media, volunteering and serving with veteran groups in their community, or starting a mentor/mentee relationship with a veteran.
While a job is a vital piece of transitioning from military to civilian life for a veteran, it also takes a coordinated, multi-sector effort to create healthy transitions to civilian life. In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $20 million by 2015 to support veterans and their families with assistance from programs that provide job training, transition help and education. With the early completion of the commitment in May of 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation renewed their commitment, announcing an additional $20 million through 2019 to support veteran job training, education and innovative public/private community-based initiatives that address the challenges many of our veterans face when returning to the civilian workforce and their communities. This includes $1 million in support for Welcome Home North Carolina, a pilot initiative to strengthen regional collaboration among veteran-serving organizations.
For more information about Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, please visit: http://www.walmartcareerswithamission.com and follow @WalmartToday on Twitter.