SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Swords to Plowshares, the San Francisco-based organization that helps train veterans to find jobs, said Walmart’s pledge to hire 100,000 vets over the next five years is a big deal.

Tuesday’s announcement was made by Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon in New York, before members of the National Retail Federation.

The unemployment rate among California’s veterans is around 10 percent, but is dramatically higher among members of the National Guard returning home from military assignments.

“50 percent of them upon their return do not have a job,” said Swords To Plowshares Policy Director Amy Fairweather.

Simon, explained in New York that he knows not every veteran wants to work in retail. “That’s OK, but every veteran who does will have a place to go,” he said.

Walmart said it will hire virtually any vet who wants a job.

“The jobs are wonderful, but I think also the bigger message that they are in a position to deliver to their customers, their vendors, and their colleagues is really wonderful,” Fairweather said.

She added that the largest U.S. retailer is putting their money where their mouth is, by giving her organization one $1 million for the job training of veterans in California.

According to Swords to Plowshares, Walmart’s program is set to begin Memorial Day on May 27.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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