Since 1999, the U.S. Congress has designated each May as Military Appreciation Month. The month includes several important days the military commemorates, including VE Day (May 8, to mark the Allies’ victory in Europe toward the end of World War II), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 12) and, of course, Memorial Day, a time to mourn the loss of military personnel who died during armed conflict.
Despite the words of respect and admiration frequently directed to active military personnel and veterans here in the U.S., the private sector’s record on hiring and retaining employees who served in the military is mixed at best.
“Though the overall rate of veterans’ employment has improved along with the general employment rate, veterans still face many barriers to advancement up the corporate ladder,” TriplePundit’s Tina Casey wrote back in November 2019.
To that end, we highlight four companies that are backing up their supportive words during Military Appreciation Month with action.
American Airlines and the Honor Flight Network
One of the finest honors a veteran can receive is the opportunity to participate in an “Honor Flight” to Washington D.C. to meet other war veterans and experience the U.S. capital’s spectacular monuments, with all of their expenses paid. (Full disclosure: my uncles, one a World War II veteran and the other who was in armed combat during the Korean War, participated in a 2017 Honor Flight).
As with its competitors in the commercial aviation sector, American Airlines has its own military recruiting policy. Earlier this month, American Airlines was among the companies marking the 250,000th veteran who was able to join this once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity. The airline announced it would donate 15 million air miles to support and continue the Honor Flight Network’s ongoing programs.
The commercial real estate services and investment giant has long stood out for various communities, including LGBTQ citizens as well as for people of color.
Count in the military community within CBRE’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The company says 2,000 of its employees are current and retired military, and is actively recruiting within this community for several fields, from building maintenance to finance to information technology.
Whether working at the retailer is a transitional steppingstone upon the return to civilian life, or if former military personnel seek to harness their skills honed during their service at the company’s Atlanta headquarters, Home Depot is one example of a company that is aggressively hiring veterans. The company says it has had more than 35,000 veterans who have launched or continued their careers with the retailer, and it has open positions in fields including management, logistics and information technology.
“It was wonderful knowing I had this company behind me,” said Darren Hammerstad, a U.S. Navy reservist based in Jacksonville, FL who has been with Home Depot for 14 years and at one point had to leave due to his deployment to Bahrain for a year. “One of the best feelings is knowing that I can step back into my job when I get back. This place means the world to me.”
The wireless carrier says it is committed to hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2023. Further, T-Mobile has been partnering with military-focused nonprofits including Hiring Our Heroes, an initiative that seeks to connect U.S. businesses with active military personnel, retired military, veterans and their spouses.
In a public statement commemorating Military Appreciation Month, T-Mobile’s Deeanne King, the company’s chief human resources officer, offered up a high-level summary of the brand’s commitment to military families. “In the event a military employee is called to duty, they’re eligible for their full base pay plus commission during deployment — even if it’s their first day on the job — and they’re eligible for supplemental pay for an additional 50 weeks,” King wrote.
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