Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon stole the show at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) 2013 Annual Convention and Expo with a single announcement: Walmart will hire any honorably discharged veteran in their first 12 months after leaving the military.
The following announcement appeared on the official Walmart Newsroom Twitter account, sending Walmart's message to the masses:
“Beginning Memorial Day, we will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first twelve months off active duty.”
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, issued the following statement regarding Walmart’s announcement:
“We have a lot of announcements made at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, but today’s announcement by Walmart President and CEO Bill Simon tops them all. It is nothing less than visionary for a great American company to make such a bold pledge to help our American heroes. Walmart is challenging the industry to follow their lead, and I have every reason to believe that retailers – the industry responsible for one out of every four jobs – will respond accordingly.”
Walmart expects that this project will result in more than 100,000 new veterans joining the Walmart family over the next five years. Veterans will find employment opportunities at Walmart stores, clubs, distribution centers and even the company’s headquarters in Arkansas.
Walmart’s commitment to hiring any new honorably discharged veteran also aligns well with the Obama administration’s commitment to helping vets find good jobs upon exiting the military.
That wasn’t Walmart’s only job-creating announcement at the NRF Convention. The company also committed to creating more jobs in the United States by supporting U.S. manufacturing. Walmart has committed to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next 10 years.
Walmart will be taking two different approaches in order to reach this $50 billion commitment, increasing the items that it already buys from U.S. manufacturers and working to bring more manufacturing opportunities to the United States. Simon specifically cited the textiles, furniture and high-end appliances as three high-potential sectors.
Read a transcript of Simon’s speech or watch the video: A Job To Do: Retail’s Role in an American Renewal.