By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -
Walmart said the company plans to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years and that means good news for local vets looking for work in the metro.
For the people at the Veterans of Foreign Wars or VFW who help veterans find jobs after leaving the service, Tuesday's job announcement is a game changer.
"I had a guy the other day come in, had no idea, unemployed, rent due, he was just looking for something," VFW Service Officer Ron Cherry said.
Cherry works with veterans every day, helping them transition to civilian life.
The VFW's job board only has so many openings. Cherry said any news is good when finding veterans work. He said employment is the no. 1 thing recent honorably discharged men and women ask him about.
"If a soldier can transition into a job, even if it's not the job he really wants, it makes it a lot easier, less stress," Cherry said.
Walmart is calling it the Welcome Home commitment. Veterans discharged in the last 12 months will have priority to open jobs throughout the country, primarily for in-store positions. The program, which will start on Memorial Day, will include jobs mostly in Walmart's stores or in its Sam's Club locations.
Cherry hopes Tuesday's announcement will encourage other employers to follow suit.
"We're on board with any organization that wants to reach out to veterans," he said. "I think this announcement is going to be groundbreaking as far as organizations reaching out to veterans."
Post-Sept. 11 veteran unemployment is at about 10 percent, a number Cherry said is way too high, considering the skill set many vets can bring to the work force.
"If we can get an organization to look deeper into that skill set to identify those skills, I think it would be a lot easier for veterans to make that transition," he said.
The announcement is part of a three-part plan from Walmart to help jumpstart the sluggish U.S. economy.
The plan includes hiring more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years, spending $50 billion to buy more American-made merchandise in the next 10 years and helping its part-time workers move into full-time positions.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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