Veterans hiring initiative announced

National employee recruiter PeopleScout joined Super Bowl Host Committee co-chairs Mary Matalin and James Carville last week in New Orleans to announce a pledge to place 15,000 veterans in jobs in 2013.

Part of the Chicago company’s Veterans Hiring Initiative, the pledge expands a goal to place 10,000 veterans in 2012, during which the company placed more than 11,100 veterans.

“Facing a 12 percent unemployment rate, more than 4 percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate, returning U.S. service members are under enormous pressure as they transition back to civilian life,” said Patrick Beharelle, CEO of SeatonCorp, parent company of PeopleScout. “The Veteran Hiring Initiative focuses on connecting world-class employers that are hiring on a large scale with highly talented veterans seeking to further their careers.”

The announcement came on the heels of a pledge by Wal-Mart to offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty, according to Bryan Goettel, director of communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes campaign.

The Chamber of Commerce’s campaign seeks to partner with businesses to place 500,000 veterans and military spouses in jobs by the end of 2014.

In addition to capitalizing on the valuable skills veterans can bring to the workplace, Goettel noted on the campaign’s website that, “It also comes at a time when America is facing a huge skills gap — one that is hindering our recovery and our global competitiveness. With several million jobs going unfilled because we lack a trained workforce, it is unconscionable that we have highly trained and capable service members returning home without jobs.”