Wal-Mart Stores has announced it will hire every returning US veteran who wants a job over the next five years, the New York Times reported.
To qualify, a veteran must have honorably left the military in the last year, CNN reported. The program is expected to provide work for about 100,000 veterans.
"Too many of those who fought for us abroad now find themselves fighting for jobs at home," Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart US and a US Navy veteran, said in a speech today, according to CNN.
The unemployment rate for veterans of recent wars was 10.8 percent in December, significantly higher than the 7.5 percent rate for nonveterans, CNN reported.
First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Joining Forces campaign encourages businesses to hire veterans and military spouses, welcomed the news, the New York Times reported.
“We all believe that no one who serves our country should have to fight for a job once they return home,” Obama said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “Wal-Mart is setting a groundbreaking example for the private sector to follow.”
Wal-Mart stands to benefit, too, according to Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the New York Times reported. “They like military people because they have a sense of hierarchy and a commitment to the organization they are in,” Lichtenstein told the New York Times. “And that’s important to Wal-Mart.”
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