His View: Walmart’s Commitment to Veterans and Military Families

By Mark Espinoza, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs, Walmart Inc.

Mark Espinoza is a Senior Director of Corporate Affairs for Walmart Inc. in Bentonville, Arkansas. Mark joined Walmart in January of 2008. In his position, he actively works in helping to set strategy for the company’s outreach opportunities and social investments. He is a leader with a deep and broad range of experience with the public, private and NGO sectors in the United States. He has expertise in developing and operationalizing external engagement strategies with cross-functional teams. He is currently coordinating external outreach efforts for Walmart’s US Manufacturing, Veterans and Financial Services efforts.

At Walmart, we are grateful for the sacrifice our nation’s veterans, military men and women, their spouses and families make in service to the country. It is our duty and honor to support our military, not only when they are in uniform, but also when they transition back to civilian life.

Committed to helping veterans face this important period through job opportunities, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment on Memorial Day 2013. The Commitment guarantees a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who has separated from service since the announcement. To date, Walmart has hired 243,716 veterans, and 39,916 have been promoted to roles of greater responsibility.

On November 12, 2018, Walmart announced the Military Spouse Career Connection (MSCC), giving hiring preference to military spouses seeking employment with Walmart or Sam’s Club. Since launching the initiative, we’ve hired 14,505 military spouses. The MSCC program in 2018 was launched to complement our Veterans Welcome Home Commitment to hire 250,000 military veterans by the end of 2020.

Whether through employment and entrepreneurial support, recognition campaigns, or company policies, Walmart seeks to demonstrate the value veterans bring to the workforce and to our communities.

Other programs and policies include:

• Military Family Promise—Walmart guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel and military spouses employed by the company who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the U.S. military.

• Coalition for Veteran-Owned Business— As a founding member of CVOB, Walmart is committed to helping the organization grow and support veteran-owned businesses in communities throughout the U.S.

• Military Leave of Absence (MLOA)—Since 2008, Walmart has offered differential pay to associates taking a leave of absence for specific military assignments lasting more than three days and through the duration of leave. If an associate’s military salary is less than what they make at their job at Walmart, the company will pay them the difference while they are on MLOA. In May 2017, Walmart announced enhancements to this policy to include any eligible military assignment, including basic training, allowing those associates considering enlisting in the Armed Forces to do so without fear of losing wages.

To strengthen our support of veterans reintegrating into their local communities, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have invested more than $40 million since 2011 in job training, education and innovative public/private community-based initiatives. The following are a few of the most recent programs funded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation:

• Operation Homefront—In November 2019, the Walmart Foundation announced a $225,000 grant to Operation Homefront that will enable the organization to continue their strategic expansion and growth including the development of a new website, outreach tools and a key performance indicator dashboard as they strive to serve even more military families.

• Hire Heroes USA—In May 2019, the Walmart Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to Hire Heroes USA to support the expansion of their employment programs and improve data collection and reporting. Hire Heroes USA is a veteran service organization dedicated to empowering U.S. military members, veterans and their spouses as they seek civilian employment.

• Boston University School of Medicine— In May 2018, the Walmart Foundation granted over $250,000 to the Women Veterans Network (WoVeN) building upon a 2017 grant which helped launch the program.

• The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc.—Center for Public-Private Partnerships (CP3): In 2015, the Walmart Foundation awarded a $500k grant to support The Veterans Metrics Initiative (TVMI): Linking Program Components to Post-Military Well-being study.

Veterans can explore career options with Walmart at www.walmartcareerswithamission.com.

Military spouses can explore career opportunities with Walmart at www.walmartspouseswithamission.com.

For more information on philanthropic work with veterans and military families, visit Walmart.org.