Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wal-Mart Partners With Army Reserve

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has signed on to an Army Reserve program that allows the company and the Army to work together to recruit and train people interested in serving in the military and working for the giant retailer.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest private employer, has more than 1.4 million U.S. employees.

An agreement signed Tuesday obligates Wal-Mart to interview and consider all qualified, participating soldiers for employment after they complete military occupational specialty training.

Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, was in Bentonville for the Veterans Day signing of the agreement.

When a reserve soldier who works at Wal-Mart is called to service, the company can draw on 1 million or so citizen soldiers to help identify a qualified replacement to work in the soldier's place. The arrangement is expected to lower costs of recruiting and training for Wal-Mart.

The Army Reserve launched the program in April and has already linked with numerous companies, including Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Sears Holding Corp., Manpower Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp., among others.

The program also helps the Army find trained professionals.

"I'm honored to officially begin an enduring partnership with a company of such impressive stature, the nation's largest private employer," Stultz said. "Wal-Mart has been a great friend to the military, and I look forward to collaborating with our newest valued partner to achieve mutual goals to attract, develop and retain a quality workforce."

Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said the agreement fits with Wal-Mart's way of providing employment.

"Our company has a longstanding commitment to providing employment opportunities in the community. We have also long recognized those who serve in the military, and it is a privilege to assist the troops and their families with this new initiative," Scott said.

Wal-Mart has taken part in a number of other military-related programs, including one to help children deal with the stress of military life and providing pre-paid phone cards to deployed troops.

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