Pledges to Our Nation’s Heroes
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On Super Bowl weekend, gridiron heroes are worshipped, and some of them invariably compare the Big Game to a “battle” or a “war.” In New Orleans today, the world’s largest recruitment process outsouring provider – along with the U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes program and Super Bowl Host Committee co-chairs and celebrity political pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville – demonstrated its continued commitment to America’s real heroes who have fought in real battles and wars.
Chicago-based PeopleScout, which facilitates hiring for some of the nation’s most recognizable Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Airlines, Burger King, Fifth Third Bank, US Airways, Gerdau Ameristeel, and Avis/Budget, pledged to place 15,000 veterans in 2013 after exceeding its pledge number in each of the two previous years. PeopleScout’s Veteran Hiring Initiative led to more than 11,100 veterans being placed in jobs in 2012, exceeding that year’s goal of 10,000 hires. Carville was impressed, saying "I take my hat off to all of you for what you're doing to hire our veterans."
Patrick Beharelle, CEO of SeatonCorp, parent company of PeopleScout, said, “Facing a 12 percent unemployment rate, more than 4 percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate, returning U.S. service members are under enormous pressure as they transition back to civilian life. The Veteran Hiring Initiative focuses on connecting world class employers that are hiring on a large scale with highly talented veterans seeking to further their careers.”
The PeopleScout announcement comes two weeks after Walmart – one of the country’s largest employers – made an unprecedented pledge to offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Walmart has stepped up as a leader in the private sector. As a founding member of the U.S. Chamber's Veterans Employment Advisory Council, Walmart’s commitment to hire 100,000 veterans will play a key role in our Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign – a national program launched last March, supported by a $4.5 million commitment from Capital One to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Foundation and the Hiring Our Heroes program. With the backing of the Chamber --the world's largest business federation -- and the support of Capital One, our effort is aimed at galvanizing the entire business community to help half a million veterans, military spouses, and transitioning servicemembers land jobs by the end of 2014.
The pledges by PeopleScout and Walmart come at a critical time in our country's history, with stubbornly high rates of unemployment for post 9-11 veterans and with more than one million men, women and their families leaving the military over the next five years.
It also comes at a time when America is facing a huge skills gap -- one that is hindering our recovery and our global competitiveness. With several million jobs going unfilled because we lack a trained workforce, it is unconscionable that we have highly trained and capable servicemembers returning home without jobs.
When our nation’s heroes leave the military, the transition back to civilian life can be difficult. To have companies like Walmart and PeopleScout recognize the value of hiring veterans, will have immeasurable second and third order effects, especially across small businesses who that could emulate proactive approach to attracting military talent. Make no mistake about it – this is a move that will reap benefits. Veterans bring discipline, leadership, and intangible skills that are unique to their military service. Companies that hire veterans understand that this isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing. We hope businesses of all sizes across America will be inspired to make their own pledge to hire the men and women who have served our country.