Welcome home, veterans. Global retailing giant Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that, starting Memorial Day, it will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first year off from active duty. The opportunities will be in stores, distribution centers and the chain’s home office.
“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” Wal-Mart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon said in a statement. “Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”
The retailer forecasts that it will hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years.
First lady Michelle Obama, who has made the welfare of returning veterans and military families a personal priority through her “Joining Forces” initiative, immediately hailed the news.
“This is exactly the kind of act we hoped would be possible when we started Joining Forces—a concrete example of our nation's love and support that our troops, veterans, and their families can feel in their lives every day,” she said in the statement released by Wal-Mart. “Today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Wal-Mart's lead."
The first lady’s office said that the White House would call Wal-Mart and other big American companies together “in the next several weeks” to discuss the plan and seek more commitments.