Walmart makes pledge to veterans

NEW YORK — Walmart announced its plans to increase domestic sourcing of the products it sells and hire 100,000 honorably discharged veterans in the next five years.

Speaking at the National Retail Federation's annual BIG Show, Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon also announced the company is helping part-time associates who want to work full-time make that transition.

"We want all of our associates to find the career opportunities they want with Walmart," said Simon. "We will make sure part-time associates have full visibility into full-time job openings in their stores and nearby stores, and that they always have first shot at those jobs. We will also bring more transparency to our scheduling system so part-time workers can choose more hours for themselves."

On domestic sourcing, Walmart and Sam's Club will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products throughout the next ten years. The company will grow U.S. manufacturing on two fronts: by increasing what it already buys here in categories such as sporting goods, apparel basics, storage products, games, and paper products, and by helping to onshore U.S. production in high potential areas like textiles, furniture and higher-end appliances.

"At the heart of our national political conversation today is one issue: creating jobs to grow the economy," said Simon. "We are meeting with our suppliers on domestic manufacturing and are making a strong commitment to move this forward."

Walmart also pledges to offer jobs to any honorably discharged veterans in their first 12 months off active duty beginning Memorial Day. Most of these jobs will be in Walmart stores and clubs, and some will be in distribution centers and the Home Office.

"Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make," said Simon. "Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They're quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever."

Walmart has spoken with the White House about this commitment. The First Lady's team expressed an interest in working with Walmart and with the entire business community to build upon this commitment. In the next several weeks, the White House will convene the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and major American employers to encourage businesses to make significant commitments to train and employ America's returning veterans.

"This is exactly the kind of act we hoped would be possible when we started Joining Forces: a concrete example of our nation's love and support that our troops, veterans and their families can feel in their lives every day," said First Lady Michelle Obama . "As our wars come to an end and our troops continue to come home, it's more important than ever that all of us — not just government, but our businesses and nonprofits as well — do our part to serve those who have served us so bravely. So today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Walmart's lead by finding innovative solutions that both make sense for their workplaces and make a difference for our veterans and their families. Given what we've seen from Walmart and so many other companies over the past two years, we know that they will."