During the first year of Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, it hired more than 42,000 veterans. The commitment, launched last Memorial Day, guarantees a job offer to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty. Walmart projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans in five years.
The Walmart Foundation also announced it is doubling down on its commitment to veterans by pledging an additional $20 million through 2019 to support veteran employment and transition programs. In 2011, the Walmart Foundation pledged $20 million through 2015 to help veterans and their families get through those challenges with assistance from programs that provide job training, transition support and education. It met that goal one year early.
“We have a generation of veterans who have built a legacy of incredible service and sacrifice to our nation,” Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer and U.S. Navy veteran, said in a press release. “We have hired veterans at every career stage and in every part of our company, from stores and distribution centers to the home office and Walmart.com. Veterans bring invaluable skills including leadership, commitment and hard work, which make our workforce even stronger.
“In addition to the good jobs we offer, our Foundation’s commitment is helping even more veterans build the skills they need to succeed in their careers,” Simon added.
“Walmart provides a great opportunity for veterans to transition from military to civilian life,” Casey Mormen, an Army veteran who was hired in January 2014, said in the release. “People don’t realize how hard it is for veterans to find employment, and I received a call almost immediately after applying. I started as a fitting room associate and have already been promoted to a department manager. I truly believe that you can go as far as your hard work will take you at Walmart, and the leadership team supports you along the way.”
More than 1 million service members are due to exit the military in the next five years, and many of them will face significant challenges with unemployment and transition back to civilian life. To help address those challenges, the Walmart Foundation is increasing its support for veterans and military families.
Organizations that will benefit from the Foundation include Swords to Plowshares, National Veterans Outreach Program and Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
Swords to Plowshares is receiving a $1.35 million grant. The San Francisco-based veteran service organization helps veterans break through the cultural, psychological and economic barriers they encounter upon their return to civilian life. With its first $750,000 Walmart Foundation grant, Swords expanded its innovative model across California. This additional funding will support capacity building and fund a pilot program to expand its service model to Texas.
National Veterans Outreach Program founded by American GI Forum is receiving a $1 million grant this year from the Walmart Foundation. It is a San Antonio-based community services agency that oversees veteran programs including job training, counseling and family services throughout Texas. In 2012, NVOP used a $750,000 Walmart Foundation grant to establish the TX-Vet program, which provides transition assistance, job readiness and placement services to unemployed or underemployed veterans 34 years of age and under in the state of Texas. This year’s grant will allow NVOP to continue the work while expanding the program to a 17-month period.
Through a $450,000 grant from Sam’s Club, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families will expand entrepreneurial training and support for female veterans through Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Joining the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand V-WISE’s reach, the grant will support planning and costs for 300 program graduates to attend the inaugural V-WISE Graduate Conference in San Antonio in November 2014.
“We hope to have a multiplying effect on the programs and resources available to veterans and their families,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Through continued, collaborative work with our nonprofit partners, we will support innovative public/private community-based initiatives that address the challenges many of our veterans face when returning to the civilian workforce and their communities. There is no better tribute to our men and women who serve than supporting them when they return home.”