Many virus dodgers sheltering in place this spring turned to Amazon to keep goods flowing to their doorstep. It’s little wonder, then, that the nation’s second largest private employer has seen a surge in demand for its services. The surge in demand means the retail giant needs more employees, and veterans are at the top of the list. Amazon’s military recruiting team is looking for veterans to hire for both temporary positions and permanent roles.
It’s a good match, as there are plenty of veterans looking for jobs. By mid-May more than 33.5 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus outbreak began, including over 1 million veterans who filed in April alone. Amazon recruiters saw a surge in interest from veterans looking for employment. To handle the demand, the Military Affairs team began hosting weekly employment webinars for veterans. The response was such that the team increased the webinar capacity from 1,000 registrants to 1,500.
“We’ve received positive feedback on the virtual forum that we created – which includes recruiters and hiring managers from across the company representing a variety of roles,” said John Quintas, a retired Air Force brigadier general and managing director of Military Affairs for Amazon. “These recruiters are available to answer questions about what it’s like to work at Amazon, details about specific roles, the hiring process and anything our military service members and military spouses would like to ask.”
The webinars include a special breakout room for military entrepreneurs who are interested in selling their products on Amazon.com. The military spouse program manager also is available to discuss Amazon’s programs focused on the unique challenges facing military spouses.
Amazon’s commitment to hiring from the military community is not new. The company already employed 30,000 veterans and military spouses before the COVID-19 outbreak, and many have stepped up during the pandemic.
“Veterans are uniquely qualified to lead during a crisis and that has been very evident during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Quintas said.
Veterans and military spouses interested in applying for a job at Amazon should visit amazon.jobs.
Amazon isn’t the only retail giant recruiting veterans to help keep up with the demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Walmart ramped up its hiring efforts as the coronavirus turned the world upside down. As the pandemic unfolded, Walmart determined to hire 150,000 workers by May 31. It hit that goal in a month, then upped it by another 50,000.
“Walmart is on the frontline of the COVID pandemic and we understand how it is impacting our customers and our communities,” said Brynt Parmeter, a retired Army colonel who recently took over as senior director of Military Programs. “We embrace the challenge to help the veteran and military spouse communities through this time. We also know that, as immediate challenges are solved, we’ll also be involved with the recovery and renewal and help shape the new future that we’ll all be a part of together. We look forward to the many veterans and military spouses who will join our team and help us shape this future for all of us.”
The company needs reliable workers in its stores, clubs and distribution centers. Walmart also is recruiting for supply chain, eCommerce and corporate roles, Parmeter said. Many of the temporary jobs added this spring could convert to full-time, permanent employment – and veterans have an edge.
“Walmart recognizes the incredible value that veterans and military spouses bring to our business. They make us a better and more diverse company and we will always seek ways to help them find economic opportunity and overall well-being on our team,” Parmeter said.
Owens & Minor
Companies that supply equipment to health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic are recruiting veterans as well. Owens & Minor, a global medical supply company that employs 17,000 people in 90 countries, was one of five manufacturers awarded a portion of the US Department of Health & Human Services’ recent purchase order to supply approximately 600 million N95 respirator masks to American health care workers over the next 18 months. The company also participated in Operation Local Production with New York City, the White House and UPS to produce 1 million yards of fabric for medical gowns.
To meet the demand, Owens & Minor turned to veterans.
“Veterans have the proven ability to learn new skills and concepts, and can enter our workforce with identifiable and transferable skills in proven real-world situations,” said Shana Neal, executive vice president and chief human resource officer at Owens & Minor. “Veterans have been trained to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration.”
While Owens & Minor is hiring veterans for a variety of permanent and temporary jobs, she identified two roles ideal for prior military. One is an operation supervisor, who manages multiple warehouse functions within a distribution facility. This role requires a strong leader who can provide direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration to
medium-sized teams as they work under tight schedules to deliver supplies to community hospitals.
The other role is a client engagement representative, who works with customers around the country with order management, product usage and credits regarding their various orders. This role requires someone with integrity who can offer sincerity and trustworthiness to customers while being able to work as both an individual and group member.
“Knowing the product lines that we produce and distribute are critical to life and death situations, we challenge ourselves daily to think outside the box for ways we can continually increase capacity and velocity,” said Gwen Bingham, a retired Army lieutenant general who now serves on the board of directors for Owens & Minor. “We owe our frontline heroes our absolute best efforts. Indeed, we are all in this together!”
To explore jobs with Owens & Minor, visit owens-minor.com/life-at-om/hiring-process.
To read this story and more, check out the June issue of Vetrepreneur® at GIJobs.com/Jun20.
*Company is a paid client