AT&T, other firms plan to increase hiring of veterans
Posted April 30, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Military veterans seeking employment in the private sector will find increased opportunities at AT&T and other companies as part of the "Joining Forces Initiative" led by First Lady Michelle Obama.
AT&T plans to hire 5,000 veterans over next five years, the company said as part of the overall jobs program as outlined at the White House on Tuesday.
Some openings are already available in North and South Carolina.
"Jobs aren’t specific to veterans, but veterans have experience that qualifies them for many of our jobs," said Josh Gelinas, a spokesperon for AT&T in the Carolina.s
The communications company currently lists nearly 100 open positions in North Carolina and more than 50 in South Carolina.
AT&T also features a website designed to help match veterans and their skills with current openings.
Job openings also can be found by specific markets at another site.
Other companies also announced hiring commitments.
Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive officer of Blackstone Group LP, for example, said the world’s biggest private-equity firm will hire 50,000 U.S. military veterans in its portfolio companies by 2018.
“Men and women who have served our country, often on foreign soil, sadly find a struggling economy and fewer jobs upon their return,” Schwarzman said yesterday on a conference call with reporters. “Our effort to hire more veterans makes good business sense to us when you consider that our portfolio of 80 companies employs more than 730,000 people.”
Schwarzman, who backed Republican Mitt Romney in last year’s U.S. election, is set to join President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle
KKR & Co., the buyout firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, started “Vets @ Work” in 2011, a program to hire more veterans in its portfolio of companies, which employ more than 900,000 people.
Military members who served after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, compared with 7.6 percent among the rest of the U.S., said Tina Tchen, chief of staff to Michelle Obama. Among veterans ages 18 to 24, the rate is 33 percent, Tchen said on the call.
Schwarzman said the hotels owned by Blackstone are seeking managers and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which the firm took public earlier this month, is looking for paramedics. Blackstone owns Hilton Worldwide Inc., New York’s Waldorf Astoria and the San Diego area’s Hotel del Coronado.
“We’re in the business of taking bold risk in almost everything we do,” said Schwarzman, who co-founded New York- based Blackstone in 1985. “The only downside is that people might not work out, and that’s a risk you have when you hire anyone.”
AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson further endorsed the effort.
"It's wonderful that Mrs. Obama has taken up the cause of those who have served our country so well,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “All of us at AT&T are happy to respond to her call."
AT&T, JPMorgan Chase and the 100,000 Jobs Mission launched a veteran talent exchange in 2011. It now includes 101 companies, and those firms have hired more than 64,000 veterans to date.