Walmart, the nation's biggest retailer, has promised 100,000 new jobs to honorably discharged veterans, one of the largest hiring commitments for vets in history.
The plan is to hire any military veteran in need of a job over the next five years, Walmart President and CEO Bill Simon said at the annual retail industry convention, Tuesday. The program will officially begin on Memorial Day, May 27.
Company officials believe the plan will lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 recently discharged veterans.
Simon also announced Walmart's commitment to helping part-time workers transition to full-time status.
"We will also bring more transparency to our scheduling system so part-time workers can choose more hours for themselves," he said.
Most of the jobs will be in Walmart's stores and Sam's Club, also operated by Walmart. The remainder will be in the company's distribution centers.
First lady Michelle Obama called Walmart's plan "historic." In an attempt to address the 8 percent unemployment rate for veterans, Mrs. Obama has led a hiring campaign in support of veterans.
According to Walmart officials, her team is willing to work with them and the rest of the business community.
Meetings with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and major U.S. employers are already slated to take place in the next few weeks.
The hope is to encourage other businesses to make significant training and employment commitments to returning veterans, according to Simon.
"We all believe that no one who serves our country should have to fight for a job once they return home," Mrs. Obama said in the statement. "Wal-Mart is setting a groundbreaking example for the private sector to follow."
Walmart employs more than 1.4 million workers in the United States.