Walmart Inc. is now giving hiring preference to spouses of active-duty military personnel in a new initiative called the Military Spouse Career Connection.
Speaking at a Veterans Day event Monday at the retailer's Bentonville headquarters, Walmart President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said military spouses often struggle to find a steady job because they move so frequently. With the national unemployment rate about 4 percent, McMillon said the unemployment rate for military spouses is 26 percent.
"Most of these spouses want and need to work," he said, "and we want to help."
Calling military spouses "unsung heroes," McMillon added that "they serve in partnership with their uniformed spouses, and we want to honor them and help them find a job or build an amazing career."
The Military Spouse Career Connection, which took effect Monday, gives hiring preference to any military spouse with a current Uniformed Services Identification Card who applies for a job with any Walmart or Sam's Club. Candidates must meet standard hiring criteria and can find job openings posted at walmartspouseswithamission.com.
The retailer claimed in a news release that it is the largest U.S. company to make such a commitment to military spouses.
In addition to the hiring preference, McMillon said Walmart guarantees military spouses a full- or part-time job at a nearby Walmart store or Sam's Club when a spouse is transferred.
McMillon said the new program complements the retailer's commitment to hiring military veterans. Walmart started its Veterans Welcome Home initiative in 2013 and expanded it in 2015, with a goal to hire 250,000 veterans by 2020. The company said it has hired more than 212,000 veterans since 2013, including more than 5,600 in Arkansas, and is on track to surpass its goal in 2019.
McMillon also announced a new employee resource group within the company that will focus on veterans and military families. "The goal will be to engage, support and empower our veteran and military families" and employees, he said. It will be introduced at Walmart and Sam's Club locations nationwide over the next few weeks.
Gary Profit, a retired brigadier general and Walmart's senior director of military programs, emceed Monday's ceremony, held in the Sam M. Walton Auditorium. He introduced company executives and several guests who spoke at the event.
Profit said the company has "a duty to honor veterans and military families. But, more importantly, they are tremendous assets to our business."
Military spouses bring many of the same leadership qualities as veterans, Profit said. "We welcome them to Walmart and hope they will consider us for the next step on their career journey," he said.
Business on 11/13/2018
Print Headline: Military spouses get jobs edge at Walmart