Every Service member can remember their interactions with the military recruiter during the infancy stages of their pledge to serve America. But what was the impetus for these individuals to join in the first place? For me, there were several attributes of service that I felt passionate to be a part of: Honor to country, teamwork, and a chance to lead my peers. As both an Enlisted Sailor and Naval Officer during an 8 year active duty cycle, I had a chance to be part of special squad of men and women sailors that gave 100% of their heart and soul to protect our borders and serve our fellow Americans both on sea and land.
Upon leaving the military and active duty service, veterans can rapidly hit a crossroad in their lives. The military provides a “turn-key” environment whereby the mission is clear, the uniform of the day is set, and everyone has a role to play in support of the orders given. Once our Service Men and Women take off the uniform and trade them in for a pair of civilian clothes, many of us find ourselves in a quagmire – we desperately yearn for the same structure, commitment to others, and duty that we were part of when serving the Red, White and Blue. This longing feeling may hit a veteran a week, a month, or even a year after leaving active duty – for each of us this can vary. Many anticipative veterans lurch for the first job vacancy that comes their way after discharge, often to feel disenfranchised and lost upon arrival – unable to adapt to the “new world” of politics, informal protocols, and lack of “chain of command”.
When I left active duty back in 2004, there was a nascent push for corporations to launch a Junior Officer Recruitment and Training curriculum to attract veterans to apply. The ideology was simple – if a corporation could reproduce a welcoming work environment to transition into, there was a greater probability that the both the veteran and company could sustain a symbiotic, loyal relationship moving forward. The value proposition is monumental for both the firm and veteran – if they can strike the right balance and chemistry – the company gains a valuable new employee and the veteran comes away with a future career path.
Walmart is an example of a US corporation that has taken on a greater responsibility to hire our veterans. Walmart’s veteran commitment numbers are staggering – they have hired more than 194,000 veterans and promoted more than 28,000 of these prior service members into roles of greater responsibility nationwide since 2013. Walmart understands the needs of veterans, and thru their workforce acclimation program called the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, they provide vets with stability and a chance to lead a team in civilian life. More than 1,300 new veterans and their families return to civilian life every day according to the Department of Defense. The Veterans Welcome Home Commitment helps veterans find career opportunities at Walmart and aims to ease the difficult transition from active duty to civilian life. As a veteran, I cannot express how important it is for my fellow service members to find meaningful careers when they come back home.
As a Virginian, I am proud to support Walmart in announcing that it has hired 6,247 veterans and promoted more than 800 to roles of greater responsibility since launching its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013.
Thank you Walmart for your commitment to our Men and Women who served – please continue to guarantee a job to any eligible, honorably discharged US veteran who has separated from active duty since Memorial Day 2013. These jobs mean a lot to our Vets, their families and our country. One of the most pivotal times for a veteran is during that bumpy transition – and with the help of Walmart’s unsurpassed veteran hiring practices and available resources – they are investing in something paramount in our lives and community.