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Wal-Mart’s plan to hire veterans

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The New York Times reports this morning that Wal-Mart will announce a plan later today that will provide a job for nearly every veteran who wants one. The program, which will focus on veterans that have left the military in the previous year and did not receive a dishonorable discharge, will last for five years and will, according to the company, lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 veterans.

More from the Times:

 “Let’s be clear: Hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions any of us can make,” [William S. Simon, the president and chief executive of Wal-Mart US] will say in his keynote speech to the National Retail Federation, according to prepared text. “These are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service.”

In a statement, the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has led a campaign by the White House to encourage businesses to hire veterans, called the Wal-Mart plan “historic,” adding that she planned to urge other corporations to follow suit.

“We all believe that no one who serves our country should have to fight for a job once they return home,” Mrs. Obama said in the statement. “Wal-Mart is setting a groundbreaking example for the private sector to follow.”

The unemployment rate for veterans of the recent wars has remained stubbornly above that for nonveterans, though it has been falling steadily, dropping to just below 10 percent for all of 2012. That was down from 12.1 percent the year before. The year-end unemployment rate for nonveterans was 7.9 percent in 2012. […]

Wal-Mart’s foundation has consistently been among the most generous contributors to veterans’ charities, committing to donate $20 million to veterans’ causes by 2015. “I take this one personally,” Mr. Simon, a Navy veteran, says in his prepared text.

But the company has also been aggressive about hiring veterans because it views them as good employees, said Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of the book “The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business.”

About 100,000 of the company’s 1.4 million employees in the United States are veterans, company officials said.