Walmart job offer could help Idaho veterans

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by Scott Evans

NWCN.com

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 5:48 PM

BOISE -- As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, more and more veterans are coming home looking for jobs to provide for them and their families.

In light of that, Walmart announced today that it will give a job to any vet that wants one.

The veteran unemployment population in Idaho is currently around 10 percent - three percent over the general population unemployment rate.

Now, this group has one more option to make some money.

Millions of Americans have served in the military - protecting this country. They have a job and a mission.

Now, hundreds of thousands are back home - honorably discharged and looking for work.

Walmart announced that it wants to help.

"We believe that we want to provide opportunities for those men and women who have served and sacrificed so much for our country," said Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan.

Every veteran who came home in the last year qualifies for this commitment.

"Every veteran may not want a job in retail, but if they do, they'll have a position at Walmart," said Buchanan.

Walmart believes it can give veterans a position that can help them get back into civilian life.

Buchanan is talking about any open position in the company, including management, at any location. All they need to do is have the right skill set for the job.

"Once they do meet those qualifications, they will actually have first priority over any other external candidate for a position at Walmart," said Buchanan.

Col. David Brasuell with the Idaho Division of Veteran Services says this will help the roughly 10 percent of Idaho vets who are unemployed.

"That's a lot of people, and there's a lot of need out there. Our veterans’ unemployment is not great, it's fairly high and I think this is a step to decrease that percentage of veterans that are unemployed," said Brasuell.

And the need is only going to go up as more and more come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Brasuell just hopes Walmart puts the vets in fast track positions.

"That will provide them higher pay. I think what's critical to me anyway is providing a living wage, not just a minimum wage in these positions, and I'm hoping Walmart is recognizing the experiences these veterans are providing and paying them a little bit more," said Brasuell.

Veterans can begin applying for open jobs right now, but Walmart will not start hiring until Memorial Day.

As for how many open jobs there are right now, Walmart won't say. The company plans to hire around 100,000 vets over the next five years.

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