Local reaction to Walmart's pledge to hire vets - Tucson News Now

Local reaction to Walmart's pledge to hire vets

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's one of Arizona's and America's largest employers. Now the major retailer is going on a hiring spree for military veterans. The super retailer Walmart, has announced they'll be hiring thousands of veterans nationwide.

They are making a pledge to hire every veteran who wants a job. They are the number two employer in Arizona and number five employer in Southern Arizona.

The company says it projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years. That includes veterans within 12 months of leaving active duty.

"These men and women who have serve and sacrificed, some up to 4 and 5 tours of duty.  So we want to offer something back to them and give them opportunity," said Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan. 

"What it means is employment, employment is a big thing."

Arthur Burrola has been working with Kino's Veterans Workforce Center since it opened in October of last year. He says they've been busy ever since. That's because the unemployment rate for veterans is significantly higher than non-veterans.

In fact, the year–end unemployment rate for 2012 was just under 10 percent, leaving thousands looking for jobs.

"A lot of vets are getting out and a lot of them are using their education benefits because this is a good time to do that when there are no jobs," he said.

He says more companies like Walmart are working with veterans, making it easier for them to reintegrate into civilian life.

In the next few years, he expects more people to leave the military, leaving more veterans unemployed.

"Statistics say that over the next five years over a  million vets will be exiting the military," he said.

Veterans that Tucson News Now spoke with today, are thankful for the opportunities, but say more needs to be done.

"I think that's good because veterans served our country.  Whether they have been in combat or not, everyone of them have put their life on the line for this country," said Allen Roberts, an army veteran.

Walmart is expected to start making these hires on Memorial Day.

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