Who’s Hiring Vets? 5 Companies Getting Veterans Back to Work

February 10, 2014 by MPA@UNC Staff

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 74,000 new jobs were added to the US economy and unemployment rates dropped in December 2013. While overall joblessness decreased from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent, the unemployment rate for recent veterans is still higher than that of the general population. There are many factors contributing to this trend of unemployment, including high rates of disabilities among veterans, difficulties adjusting to civilian life, and lack of civilian work experience.

Fortunately, a number of companies are making an effort to hire veterans. Here are five employers that are committed to getting veterans back to work:

  1. PepsiCo—This food and beverage giant leads the veteran hiring index created by Bright.com—a website that analyzes big data to track which companies hire the most veterans in propotion to their total workforce. In 2011, PepsiCo received the Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award and was honored by the US Chamber of Commerce for its efforts to hire veterans. According to Orion International, PepsiCo is a top 20 military-friendly company.
  2. General Electric—Ranking second on Bright’s index, this company launched a program to help veterans translate military work experience into civilian skills. General Electric also committed to hiring 1,000 veterans every year for at least the next four years.
  3. Valero Energy—A Fortune 50 company that manufactures and markets petrochemical products, Valero Energy is ranked third on Bright’s veteran hiring index. Valero achieved this rank due to the number of veterans it hired compared to the total number of resumes received for open positions.
  4. Starbucks—This popular coffee chain made some impressive steps towards easing veteran unemployment. Starbucks committed to hiring 10,000 veterans and their spouses in the next five years.
  5. Amazon—Last year, Amazon hired more than 1,200 veterans. According to CEO Jeff Bezos, “We actively seek leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and deliver results on behalf of our customers. These principles look remarkably familiar to men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and we find that their experience leading people is invaluable in our fast-paced work environment.”

While more employers are committing to hiring veterans, there are still challenges that must be addressed, including readjustment to civilian life and translation of military experience into civilian jobs. To that end, there are a number of organizations committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of American veterans. The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers a multitude of services, including educational and career counseling. Organizations such as Hire Heroes USA and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS) also offer employment resources to veterans seeking employment.