Wal-Mart hiring initiative targets new veterans

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes Published: January 15, 2013 WASHINGTON – If you just left the military, Wal-Mart has a job for you. Guaranteed.The nation’s largest retailer announced it will hire any honorably discharged veteran less than a year out from the military, starting Memorial Day. In a speech before the National Retail Federation on Tuesday, company CEO Bill Simon called the move part patriotism, part common sense. “Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” Simon said. “They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.” The announcement was greeted with fanfare from veterans advocates and even the White House, which has worked with corporate leaders over the last year to encourage American businesses to help veterans find employment after their military service. In a statement, first lady Michelle Obama called the move “a concrete example of our nation’s love and support for our troops, veterans, and their families.” More than 226,000 Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans filed for unemployment benefits last month, and the unemployment rate among that group has been sitting stubbornly above the national figure and the overall veterans number for most of the last four years. Under the Wal-Mart plan, all veterans in their first 12 months of post-military life who pass a basic background check (including a drug test) will be promised at least part-time work at a Wal-Mart store or distribution center. All would-be employees must apply through the company’s career center web site — careers.walmart.com — and human resources officials will flag new-veteran applications with “priority status.” Wal-Mart officials acknowledged that many of the jobs will be entry-level or short-term positions, but said the offer of steady employment might be what thousands of veterans need to make the transition back to civilian life. In addition, corporate officials will review resumes to see which veterans might be better suited for upper-management and career-track positions, and will contact them about higher paying opportunities. White House officials said they hope to use the Wal-Mart announcement as a model for other firms. Wal-Mart officials could not say how many veterans might be hired under the guaranteed jobs program. More than 150,000 active duty troops left the services last year. Simon said the company has set a goal of doubling their own veterans workforce over the next five years. Currently, about 100,000 of Wal-Mart’s 1.4 million associates have military experience. At the New York event, Simon charged his corporate peers to expand their own career opportunities for veterans. “Imagine what retail could do together,” he said. “We could leave an incredible legacy as an industry. We can be the ones who step up for our heroes. And we can do this now.”

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP