BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – As Memorial Day approaches, retail giant Walmart said it has hired more than 3,900 veterans in Alabama as part of a company initiative called the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment.
Across the nation, Walmart has hired nearly 131,000 veterans under the program, which was announced on Memorial Day 2013. In Alabama, the total number of vets hired is 3,908.
John Mark Hunter, a discharged U.S. Marine who served two seven-month tours in Afghanistan as a tank commander, is one of them. The 25-year-old Hayden native began working as an overnight stocker at the Walmart Supercenter in Gardendale in March.
“I heard about Walmart being veterans-friendly, and when I sent out applications, Walmart was the first to get back to me,” Hunter said. “I really enjoy working here. The people are very friendly, and I’ve made a lot of friends.”
HIRING 250,000 VETS
When introduced in 2013, the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment guaranteed a job to any eligible, honorably discharged veterans within 12 months of active duty, with an initial goal of hiring 100,000 vets. That goal has since been expanded to 250,000 vets by 2020.
“As a veteran, I know how critical it is for our men and women in uniform to have a strong support structure when transitioning back to civilian life,” said Retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs for Walmart.
“A job is an important part of that transition, and at Walmart, we’re proud to use our strengths as one of the nation’s largest employers to be a part of that bridge back home by providing meaningful opportunities to 3,900 veterans, and counting, in Alabama to use their unique talent and skills,” he added.
As he begins a new chapter in his life, Hunter is grateful for skills he learned in the Marines.
“My military experience has helped me with managing my tasks and making sure I get everything done the right way and in a timely manner,” he said.
Arkansas-based Walmart operates 141 stores in Alabama, with nearly 38,500 workers, earning an average wage of $13.49 an hour.