COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | PABLO CENICEROS

Walmart stands by veterans with hiring pledge

For more than two decades, my job was to serve and protect our country as a member of the U.S. Army. I was passionate about my responsibilities and fully committed to the roles I held while on active duty, including that of a mechanic, recruiter, instructor, senior drill sergeant and, finally, first sergeant.

I’ve served alongside many brave service men and women stateside and in Afghanistan, and have seen how the qualities the military teaches build strong soldiers and contributing civilians. I learned respect, discipline, service to others, integrity and accountability.

As a San Diego native, it was important for me to find a way to give back to my community when I decided to retire from service. Four years ago, I found that opportunity with Walmart. It’s a company that values my training and experience while providing me with the opportunity to help others. I consider myself lucky to have found a company that aligned with my needs at a time in my life when I was looking for a transition.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with all veterans moving into the civilian work force. I see too many of those who fought for our country now fighting for jobs at home. Walmart is working to change that.

Veterans have the opportunity to join me and approximately 100,000 other veterans already working for Walmart as part of our Veterans Welcome Home Commitment.

Beginning on Memorial Day, Walmart will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty. Over the next five years, the company projects to hire and train more than 100,000 veterans. That means the world to a veteran like me.

As a co-manager at our College Grove store, I understand that not every returning veteran wants to work in retail, but I can tell you that anyone who does and meets the minimum qualifications will have an opportunity at Walmart.

Through continuing efforts to support U.S. military members and veterans, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Operation Homefront are hosting a series of events across the country to honor those on active duty, veterans and military families.

The first of those events happened at my store last week on Armed Forces Day. It gave me, my fellow associates and our community a chance to show our appreciation to local heroes — an appropriate lead into our veterans hiring initiative.

I’m proud to stand with Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. and a U.S. Navy veteran, in our company’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment. I’m confident that as other companies join us, we will be successful in putting veterans back to work when they return home.

Ceniceros, co-manager of San Diego Walmart #2479, is retired from the U.S. Army and received the Bronze Star.

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rene.valdivia 7:51pm May 27, 2013

I have been working for the US Navy for 14 years. It takes me a little time to find a job, doesn't matter that I finish college. Right now I continue work for the US Navy Reserve. I see many of my sailors in the Reserve that have problems to find a job. Would you please let me know who will be my POC and where I need to go to send my sailors to find a job in Walmart. Many of them have a great quality, they work as a team , and specially they are Veterans.