Walmart Hiring Plan Excludes Nearly 1 Million Unemployed Veterans
Walmart's plan to hire more than 100,000 veterans comes with a major catch: Only those who have been honorably discharged on or after the plan's announcement on Jan. 15 will be eligible. (The official launch date is Memorial Day.)
Which means that veterans who left service yesterday, or last week, will not be eligible. Nor will Walmart's plan include veterans who left military service last year and have been unemployed, ever since.
Why? Walmart's spokesperson Brooke Buchanan told AOL Jobs: "We shouldn't be given a hard time about this," but declined to elaborate on why this condition was put in place.
She emphasized that Walmart's employment roster of 1.4 million workers already shows 100,000 veterans on staff, thanks to its participation in efforts such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program. But Walmart's program will still be leaving out the almost one million veterans currently out of work, according to August statistics. The unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq now stands at 10.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For his part, President Obama was speaking highly of the plan, saying, "Walmart is setting a groundbreaking example for the private sector to follow."
Walmart's program joins a renewed effort throughout corporate America to hire veterans. Currently there are about 10 million veterans working in corporate America, according to GIJobs.com. And the numbers are growing, thanks to programs such as banking giant JPMorgan's 100,000 jobs mission, which is looking to hire that many veterans by 2020. As of September, it had already gotten 28,186 veterans hired among a group of 76 employers -- including the bank.
"You are seeing a new attitude of 'what can we do?' in the corporate world," Libby O'Connell, the chief historian at The History Channel told AOL Jobs. And she saw the enthusiasm as coming from a desire to right past wrongs. "After Vietnam, veterans were disrespected because of the opposition to the war. Everyone has realized veterans' well-being has nothing to do with how you felt about the war."
For its part, Walmart said that it still welcomed all veterans to apply for jobs. "We will respect their service," Buchanan said.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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