Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Wal-Mart Plans to Hire Any U.S. Veteran Who Asks

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Wal-Mart Plans to Hire Any U.S. Veteran Who Asks

Article excerpt

Company officials said they believed the program, which is officially scheduled to begin in May, would lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 people in the next five years.

Wal-Mart Stores, the largest retailer in the world, announced Tuesday that it planned to hire every American veteran who wanted a job at its U.S. stores, provided that the veterans had left the military in the previous year and had not receive dishonorable discharges.

The announcement was made in a speech in New York by William S. Simon, the president and chief executive of Wal-Mart U.S. The company also announced Tuesday that over the next 10 years it would buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products.

Company executives said they believed the program, which is officially scheduled to begin on the U.S. Memorial Day holiday-- May 27 this year -- would lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 people in the next five years, the length of the commitment.

"Let's be clear: Hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions any of us can make," Mr. Simon said during his keynote speech to the National Retail Federation, according to prepared text. "These are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service."

In a statement, the U.S. first lady, Michelle Obama, who has led a campaign by the White House to encourage businesses to hire veterans, called the Wal-Mart plan "historic," adding that she planned to urge other corporations to follow suit.

"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."

The unemployment rate for U.S. veterans of recent wars has remained stubbornly above that for nonveterans, though it has been falling steadily, dropping to just below 10 percent for all of 2012. That was down from 12.1 percent the year before. The year-end unemployment rate for nonveterans was 7.9 percent in 2012.

Reducing the unemployment rate among veterans was among the few veterans' issues discussed by the presidential candidates last year. …

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