Amazon announced Tuesday a new initiative to hire more than 100,000 military veterans and their spouses over the next three years. The company guaranteed that they would receive a $15 an hour starting salary with access to benefits.
“Amazon is focused on recruiting and developing military talent with training programs specifically designed to help veterans transition into roles in the private sector,” said John Quintas, Amazon’s director of global military affairs to Yahoo Business. “We value the unique skills and experience that the military community brings.”
The company already employs 40,000 veterans and their spouses in nearly every sector of Amazon’s massive operation. Fox Business said the retail giant will hire 84,000 former military service members and 16,000 of their spouses.
“Anecdotally, a lot of the veterans that I talk to — many of them raise their hand and defend the Constitution, and then they come out [of service], and they don’t know what to do, but they love the idea that they could be in a role that has real long-term value,” Quintas, told Fox Business.
Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, praised Amazon’s initiative. Eversole leads Hiring Our Heroes. It’s a program that helps veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful work when they leave the military.
“Amazon recognizes the diverse backgrounds and experiences veterans and military spouses bring and how they strengthen the workforce,” Eversole said.
Amazon Can Provide Benefit Few Others Can
Servicemen and women often move frequently, making hiring their spouses a dicey proposition for some businesses. That’s because they may need to refill again when the military gives them new orders in a few months. But Amazon has facilities all over the world. They can transfer employees to different facilities and train them to do new jobs.
Beth Conlin, whose husband is an active-duty Army officer, has worked at Amazon as a senior program manager for the company’s military spouse program about a year and a half. During that time they’ve moved repeatedly and each time Amazon has provided Beth a new place to work.
“We just finished our eighth move in 11 years. …,” Conlin said. “Prior to coming to Amazon, I had hit a hurdle that a lot of military spouses hit, and that is moving overseas and finding it virtually impossible to maintain employment, and that was just really unacceptable to me.”
Amazon isn’t the only company who has pledged to hire more military veterans and their spouses. JP Morgan formed a coalition in 2010 to hire 100,000 military veterans and their spouses by 2020. Over the time, several other major companies have joined. Walmart didn’t but did pledge to hire 250,000 by 2015, Fox News said.
Home Depot hired 35,000 veterans, and also pledged $50 million in 2018 to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years.