After fulfilling their initial pledges to hire military veterans, a number of corporate initiatives have raised their hiring commitments.
After meeting its target of hiring 100,000 veterans, Walmart increased its goal to 250,000; the 100,000 Jobs Mission changed its name to the Veteran Jobs Mission and pledged to reach 1 million new hires; and after surpassing the goal of its Hire 500,000 Heroes initiative, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has promised to hire at least 200,000 more veterans or spouses.
The new targets, however, may fall victim to the campaigns’ initial success, reports the Los Angeles Times. “They won’t be able to hire a million veterans anytime soon,” Jeffrey Wenger, a public policy expert at the Rand Corp., said of the corporate pledges. “There aren’t a million veterans to hire.”
An improved economy and more time have combined to help many post-9/11 veterans find civilian employment. As of October, unemployment for veterans who served after 9/11 stood at 4.6 percent — essentially the same as the rate for nonveterans.
The corporate hiring campaigns, meanwhile, continue to look ahead.
“Until every veteran who wants a job is hired, our work is not done,” Ross Brown, head of military and veteran affairs at J.P. Morgan Chase, told the Times. Brown, whose company was one of the founders of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, said the renewed campaign is confident it will eventually reach its goal of 1 million hires.
“We’re not putting a timetable on this,” he said.
More important than the exact goals set by these corporate hiring initiatives is their underlying message, says Phillip Carter, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security.
“The real value has been promoting a positive brand for veterans,” Carter said. “The message has been: hiring veterans is good for business.”