Take a cue from Walmart’s veteran initiative

Yesterday Wal-Mart announced a new hiring initiative: Beginning Memorial Day (that’s May 27 for those of you already planning your vacations), the retailer will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within the first year coming off active duty. During the next five years, the company expects to hire 100,0oo vets as part of this push.

“I can think of no better group to lead in revitalizing our economy than those who have served in uniform,” says Bill Simon, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO. “Through their service, veterans give us a land of freedom. When they return, it must be to a land of possibility.”

In the trucking industry, companies are beginning to explore the opportunities of recruiting military vets (Schneider National, Crete Carrier Corp and American Central Transport immediately pop to mind). Those that have recruited vets see the value in skilled and disciplined individuals that are highly adaptable. But more can be done industry-wide, especially in light of a growing driver shortage. 

With yesterday’s announcement, Walmart’s Simon also issued a challenge to businesses across the country. “As our wars come to an end and our troops continue to come home, it’s more important than ever that all of us – not just government, but our businesses and nonprofits as well – do our part to serve those who have served us so bravely.  So today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Walmart’s lead by finding innovative solutions that both make sense for their workplaces and make a difference for our veterans and their families.  Given what we’ve seen from Walmart and so many other companies over the past two years, we know that they will.”