Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon Calls on Veterans to Help Lead an "American Renewal"
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Aug. 31, 2011 – At the American Legion’s 93rd National Convention, Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon rallied fellow Americans, veterans and Legionnaires behind the goal of getting the economy growing again. During his speech, Simon highlighted the importance of:
- Creating jobs in the U.S. by hiring more than 15,000 people to work in about 100 new and expanded Walmart stores by fiscal year’s end;
- Supporting military veterans by doubling the company’s commitment for veterans programs to $20 million over five years; and
- Setting a national agenda to get the economy back on track.
Simon, who served 25 years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves, reminded the audience that veterans have helped lead economic growth in the past and can do so again: “Everyone is hoping the cavalry will ride in and save the day. But you don’t need to wait for that. Just think about our history. You are the cavalry….Today, after ten years of war, there’s a new group of men and women ready to be a part of the American renewal.”
All About Jobs: “This work of the American renewal is all about jobs,” said Simon. “I run Walmart U.S. – a company founded by a veteran – and Walmart is helping to tackle America’s job problem.” Simon announced that Walmart will build or expand more than 100 stores by the end of the year and more than 15,000 people will be hired for these stores.
Simon added: “I’m proud of the jobs we create at Walmart. These are good jobs and good careers. Inside our stores every day, the American dream comes to life. Last year, we promoted more than 140,000 hourly associates, which is like giving all of Dayton, Ohio a promotion. More than 200,000 of Walmart’s employees have stayed with the company more than ten years.”
Supporting Veterans: “As this generation of soldiers comes home, you and I know how important it is for them to come back to a country of opportunity.” Walmart also announced it is doubling its support for military families and veterans from $10 million to $20 million through the end of 2015. Last year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation launched a five-year, $10 million commitment to promote job training and entrepreneurship among veterans.
Walmart also supports its associates that have been called to active military duty through its Military Family Promise. The program guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel, and military spouses, employed at Walmart or Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the U.S. military. In addition, those called to duty will continue to be paid any difference in their salary if the associate is earning less money during their military assignment.
Simon reiterated Walmart’s commitment to supporting those who serve. “We love to hire veterans,” said Simon. “Veterans not only have a record of performance under pressure, but they are educated and technologically savvy; quick learners; and team players.” Walmart actively recruits former military personnel, offering programs to help them transition into civilian jobs. Walmart recently launched a career portal for former active-duty service members interested in building a career with the company.
National Agenda: In his address, Simon outlined key steps the country’s government leaders should take to help get the economy back on track:
- Take care of our veterans when they come home;
- Promote American exports and pass free trade agreements that are ready;
- Pass a comprehensive reform of our corporate tax code to broaden the tax base and lower the overall tax rate; and
- Work together to bring back American manufacturing
Simon concluded: “Pride, conviction and confidence are the first steps toward getting our economy growing again. And we don’t need to wait on anybody else to do it.”
The number of stores announced today is in line with the company’s previous capital expenditure announcement. Walmart will announce its overall capital strategy for growth for the next fiscal year at its conference for the investment community on October 12.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 9,600 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
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