Walmart is making a big promise to veterans. America's largest private employer is offering a job to any recent military vet who wants one. CBS 19's Amanda Roberson reports the plan targets a large group of people looking for work.
For veterans of all generations the December jobless rate was seven percent, up from November. The number of unemployed veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is more than 10 percent. That's why Walmart is hoping to give our most recent returning vets a boost with 100,000 jobs.
Walmart's five year plan promises a job to any veteran who has been honorably discharged from active duty within the past 12 months. In doing so it would double that number of veterans working in its stores and offices, from 100,000 to 200,000 veterans.
Walmart CEO Bill Simon unveiled the plan Tuesday in New York. "Not every returning veteran wants to work in retail. But every veteran who does will have a place to go."
AW "I would be glad to work for Walmart."
Veteran Airell Woods has been looking for a job in Tyler for more than two years. "The pay doesn't matter. I just want a job."
He's ineligible for Walmart's new program because he served in the Army in the 70's, but said he hopes returning veterans don't get the same feedback from Walmart he's been getting from employers. "Looking at what work you want to do and some people will say they're hiring and then all of the sudden they say they're just taking applications at the time being and that's very rough."
There are more veterans out of work than in the general population: the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 10.8 percent, a full three percent higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.
"It's definitely tough just trying to find a job with good pay and good benefits," said veteran Andrea Odom. She just graduated from UT Tyler with a degree in criminal justice and thinks Walmart's new hiring plan is a good idea. "Coming out everything's different and just getting used to the lifestyle, being a civilian again I think that's great that you have that opportunity there."
Whether it be at Walmart, Sam's, the headquarters in Arkansas, or a distribution plant, recently discharged veterans may find better luck landing a job.
Walmart also announced a 50-billion dollar "Buy American" program the company said is part of its effort to stimulate the U.S. economy. The plan comes at a time when the retail giant has been the target of workers who want higher salaries and more opportunities for full time work.
Walmart plans to start putting veterans to work on Memorial Day. For more information on taking advantage of the program, click here.