In a speech to the National Retail Federation in New York on Tuesday, Walmart’s Chief Executive Bill Simon said the company would hire any returning veteran who wanted a job. He also said the company would buy more products from the U.S. and help more employees become full time.
Wal-Mart said it plans to hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years as part of a program to offer a job to “any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty.â€ Simon said veterans are often good employees, and that his company plans to begin hiring them after Memorial Day.
“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions any of us can make,” he said. “Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick leaders and they’re team players.”
The company says it plans to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next 10 years. According to data from Wal-Mart’s suppliers, items that are made, sourced or grown in the U.S. account for about two-thirds of the company’s spending on products for its U.S. business.
Wal-Mart says that it has spoken to the White House about its commitment, and said the First Lady Michelle Obama’s team has already expressed an interest in working with Wal-Mart and with the rest of the business community. Wal-Mart says it believes it is already the largest private employer of veterans in the country.
First lady Michelle Obama, who led a White House drive to encourage businesses to hire veterans, called Wal-Mart’s announcement “historic.”
“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.”