BG Gary M. Profit (USA, Ret.)
On behalf of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart), thank you Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Michaud and Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for the opportunity to join you today to talk about veterans hiring.
Walmart has a rich history with veterans, those continuing to serve, and military families. Arguably, it begins with Captain, U.S. Army, Sam Walton who founded Walmart over 50 years ago. Through the years, the legacy has been enriched by countless others, including the 100,000 veteran associates and 150,000 veteran and military families.
At Walmart, we are thankful for their service and sacrifice, and we strive to support their heroism. Right now, we know one of their biggest needs is employment and gaining the tools necessary to prepare for a career outside of the military.
Besides being the right thing to do, hiring veterans is also good for business. We believe veterans and military families represent the largest, diverse, talent-rich pool in the world and are an essential segment of the next generation at Walmart. Their value begins with a rock-solid foundation, a proxy for which might be the seven Army Values I lived for over 31 years: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. It is complemented by the nation’s huge investment in skills training and leader growth and development. Who wouldn’t want to hire them?
But, there must be a sense of urgency: 2.6 million post-9/11 veterans have left the service and in the next five years, one million more will have left. About half of them are between the ages of 18 and 34. Unemployment for these younger veterans has often been more troubling than their non-veteran counterparts.
So at Walmart, we decided to do our part and launched the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment last Memorial Day. Vets who meet the job requirements and have been honorably separated from active duty within the last 12 months have a job at Walmart if they want one. Walmart has a host of opportunities at our stores and clubs across the country, as well as select opportunities in our distribution centers and main offices. If you served and sacrificed for your country, you shouldn’t have to fight for a job when you get home. We believe that in five years, we will hire more than 100,000 veterans.
Since full implementation on Memorial Day, we have hired nearly 30,000 veteran associates. These jobs range from part-time hourly to salaried management; from Walmart Stores and Sam’s Clubs; to Distribution Centers and Transportation Offices; and to the Corporate Headquarters.
One of the other aspects of this commitment that we are excited about is the Veteran Champion Program. This program is a six week on-boarding process to support the transition and integration of the new veteran associates into their new work environments. It is guided by an associate who is drawn, preferably, from a similar experience.
In addition to employment, we also strive to understand and address some of the specific and special unmet and under-met needs faced by veterans and military families. Through the Walmart Foundation, we are committed to a $20 million campaign through 2015 and are focused on access to education, job training, and reintegration resources. Additionally, as part of our Holiday Giving, we announced on Veterans Day, a $1.5 million grant to the Operation Homefront “Home for the Holidays” Program and a $500,000 grant to the Fisher House Foundation “Sponsor a Family” Program. The grants provided toys, meals, and lodging to military families in greatest need of support and helped hundreds of active duty service members come home for the holidays.
We salute America’s heroes. We are honored to have the opportunity to employ them, to learn from them, and to support them and their families in every way we can.
Through career training and job opportunities, we're helping prepare our troops for successful professional lives both during and after their service in the military.
Thank you Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Michaud and Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for your leadership and for holding this hearing. I appreciate the opportunity to testify and am prepared to answer any questions.