There have been many companies rising to take up President Barack Obama’s
challenge to hire 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013, but two corporations — Walmart and Blackstone — are leading the way.Walmart has already vowed to single handedly hit Obama’s target, offering 100,000 jobs to veterans — giving a job to any recently discharged veteran that applies. Ditto for Blackstone, which also plans to hire at least 50,000 veterans over the next five years.
“The first 12 months after leaving [the military] is really critical to the trajectory of [a veteran’s] success,” Walmart CEO Bill Simon said in a conference call with reporters Monday.
“While transitioning from public service to private life is never easy,” Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman added. “It’s much harder in a struggling job market.”
Both corporations are part of Joining Forces, a private-public venture led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden. With over 2000 companies on board, the goal is to help veterans as they leave the military and translate their skills to the civilian world.
A number of big names in tech have also joined the initiative, including Cisco, which started a “networking academy” training at a number of military bases, and Microsoft, which is offering 10,000 certification training packages to military veterans.
“The private sector needs to stand up for our veterans just as they have stood up for us,” said Simon, who went on to say Walmart will have jobs ranging from entry-level to niche areas, such as logisticians.
But it’s not a charity effort. Both executives insist that hiring veterans makes good business sense.
“Studies have shown veterans are reliable, motivated, and trustworthy,” Schwarzman said.
In addition to the intangible benefits, the White House has also sweetened the deal with a number of tax credits available to employers who hire vets.
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