Sep 27, 2013

Walmart Hires 12,000 Veterans in Four Months

By Caroline Khoury
For Reporting Texas

Four months into its drive to hire 100,000 veterans by 2018, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has put more than 12,000 former U.S. military on its payroll.

On May 27, Bill Simon, a Navy vet and CEO of the Bentonville, Ark.-based company, launched the effort to hire veterans within a year of being honorably discharged.

Kayla Whaling, a media relations manager for the world’s largest retailer, said higher-level positions are available as well as entry-level jobs at Walmart stores and Sam’s Club outlets, distribution centers and administrative offices. Whaling said she didn’t have a state-by-state breakdown of hires so far and couldn’t say how many vets had been hired in Texas.

“Although entry-level jobs could be great opportunities for older veterans looking to go back to work, Walmart really is looking for veterans to serve all different kinds of positions,” she said. “If you’re looking for a career, you can come to Walmart, but if you’re looking for a job just to get you by, there’s one for you as well.”

The Texas Veterans Commission is helping Walmart recruit applicants. Stan Kurtz, director of operations at the commission, said positions are open in management, information technology, transportation and other areas.

“One of the biggest challenges is that when you see that Walmart is coming up with an initiative, immediately you think of those entry level positions,” he said. “The biggest hurdle is to communicate what types of jobs are out there for veterans.”

He said veterans receive expedited interviews when they are matched to potential jobs.

Bob Gear, director of the Workforce Commission’s Veterans Leadership Program, said vets sometimes underestimate the number and variety of corporate jobs they can secure. Workforce Commission staff try to help vets find private jobs that utilize the skills they learned in service at competitive salaries.

“We are making progress getting our veterans hired because the discharge system is now becoming more proactive than reactive,” he said. “Veterans are starting to find jobs before they exit the military.”

The unemployment rate for veterans over 18 was 6.2 percent in August, compared with a national rate of 7.6 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.