Companies commit to hiring veterans this holiday season

Indianapolis, Ind.

If you take a stroll through the meat isle in the Kroger store on Crawfordsville Road, you're likely to find things in tip top shape.

"I'll walk through here, verify the packages aren't outside the bunkers, make sure they're in what we call the safe zone," said Meat Manager Ron Horrall as he explained one of his routine inspections.

Horrall said an eye for accuracy and leadership skills come easily to him on the job at Kroger, because he's been using those same skills for years as a member of the Army Reserves.

When Horrall came back from a 14 month deployment in 2006, Kroger took him right back as a member of the team. The local store also sent care packages to him and his unit while he was away.

Kroger Public Affairs Manager John Elliott said Kroger currently has more than 17,000 veterans on its workforce. He said the company considers it a honor and a duty to give back to those who have served our country and said he hires veterans because they truly are often the best fit for the job.

"The soldiers that come to us, men or women, officers or not, they are very strong in character and in a business so fast paced like retail, we need to make on the spot decisions, take care of the customer, take care of your fellow associate and move on quickly to that next retail task," Elliott said.

Kroger is committing to continue hiring veterans heading into the holiday season. The company is joining several others including IBM, Delta, Hershey and Toys R Us on the 100,000 Jobs Mission. The goal is to hire 100,000 veterans by 2020.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Stastics reported a 6.3% unemployment rate for veterans in October. That rate is down from nearly 8% a year ago. However, Gulf War Era II Veterans, those who began their service after September 11, 2001, face a higer unemploytment rate of 10%. Unemployment is most prevalent among veterans between the ages of 18 and 25.

"Unfortunately, while some of soldiers are deployed they have circumstances that come up, things that change, so once they do arrive home they have to deal with that first. Sometimes it is employment, sometimes it’s personal," said Horrall.

Horrall said he strives to help current veterans struggling to readjust to life on the homefront and having a hard time finding work.

"There are several soldiers in my unit that I have tried to direct to Krogers once they come home and have a hard time finding a job. I work in 18 stores so I can talk to stores and see what they have available and I try to take my soldiers to stores near their hometowns," Horrall said.

Kroger launced the website honoringourheroes.com to post jobs and links for veterans who are looking for work. The company also posts open positions on "Hero 2 Hired" at https://h2h.jobs/ which is an online job board for veterans.

To learn more about the 100,000 Jobs Mission visit http://www.100000jobsmission.com/ .

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