One of the biggest perks of life after service in the military is that businesses large and small offer specials discounts to veterans. That, of course, is nice — but some companies go above and beyond the corporate call of duty.
As part of a comprehensive package on military-focused finances, GOBankingRates identified 10 companies that stand out for their support of veterans and the military.
Some have excellent hiring programs that favor military members or vets. Others have volunteer programs that pay employees to donate their time. Others partner with third-party organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project to make sure their corporate donations go straight to the vets who need it most.
Whether you’re looking for an employer who values military service, a company to support your cause or nonprofit or if you’re just looking for somewhere that you’d be happy to spend your money, this list is a good place to start. Read on to learn more, and if you’re a vet yourself, thank you for your service.
Transportation giant CSX has long been recognized as one of the country’s most military-centric employers. One in five people who work there has served and the company actively recruits veterans. It maintains separate job postings just for vets that correspond with specific types of military service. CSX employees have committed more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service to military personnel and their families through its Pride in Service program, which includes partnerships with organizations like Blue Star Families, Operation Homefront, First Responders Children’s Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Carry Forward and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Merck’s trophy case is a testament to its commitment to military service members and veterans. It received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award — the highest award the government can give — for its commitment to its Guard and Reserve employees. It’s a member of the Veteran Jobs Mission and was recognized by major publications as a great company not only for military members and vets, but also for people with disabilities, for gender equality and for diversity. If offers Guard and Reserve employees full benefits and differential pay during active-duty mobilizations.
It’s nice to know that some of the profits from all those expensive and sugary Starbucks drinks go to a cause better than just empty calories — and they do. Starbucks has a Veteran and Military Affairs department run by a 20-year veteran. Its job is to actively recruit vets for hire — and it’s working. Starbucks has hired more than 30,000 vets since 2013 and has vowed to hire 5,000 more every year. The company has also partnered with Team Red, White and Blue since 2017 and also partners with Headstrong to provide free counseling and mental health services to post-9/11 vets and their families.
Purina helps vets in the best way it knows how — by helping their dogs. Service dogs have proven to be one of the most effective ways to help veterans struggling with PTSD in their new mission to assimilate to civilian life. The problem is, training them to serve their human companions costs tens of thousands of dollars per pooch. Purina has donated nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to the Dog Chow Service Dog Salute program, which directs dollars to vet-specific service dog training. It donates tens of thousands of pounds of dog food per year for active-duty military dogs and veteran-support service dogs alike, and actively recruits veterans and gives them preferential hiring treatment.
Verizon offers veterans good discounts on devices and service plans, but lots of companies sell a little below MSRP to people who served. Verizon goes much further by employing more than 10,000 vets and members of the Guard and Reserves. It even maintains a dedicated military recruitment team. It puts its money where its marketing is by providing bridge compensation between Verizon pay and military pay to support military families with loved ones on leave for active duty. It also provides technology, equipment and services to organizations that serve veterans like the V.A., as well as to organizations that perform specialty services like support for homeless vets or military spouses. Verizon also partners with Veterans Advantage.
Like Verizon, Southwest Airlines gives sizable discounts to veterans and the military community. Also like Verizon, it puts much more money into the pockets of vets through employment than it does through discounts. Southwest Airlines supports the Veterans Jobs Mission and has resulted in Southwest’s hiring of 8,000 veterans and Guard/Reserve members. It has received several big awards from well-known organizations like G.I. Jobs and partners with some of the country’s biggest vet-centric causes.
Southwest Airlines is one of the more than 200 companies that supports the Veterans Jobs Mission — which has given nearly 713,000 vets with jobs out of its goal of 1 million — but Chase co-founded the organization. It remains one of the group’s most dedicated supporters, hiring more than 16,000 vets since the mission got started in 2011. It’s donated more than 1,000 mortgage-free homes to veterans and military members and enrolled 30,000 people in Onward to Opportunity, a free career training program that is part of the Institute for Veteran and Military Families.
Booz Allen Hamilton
IT consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton is no stranger to the military. It provides services to the Armed Forces and the government in general at all levels, so it’s a natural fit for the veterans who make up such a large percentage of the firm’s workforce. It also redirects profits to worthy military-centric causes. Among its partners are Hiring Our Heroes and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. When the virus struck, BAH donated $1 million to the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative.
In 2013, Walmart set the lofty goal of hiring a quarter-million veterans. Just seven years later on July 1, 2020 — three days before Independence Day — Walmart announced it had not only reached but surpassed that goal when it hired vet No. 265,000. By November it was 320,000. Long hailed for its support of the military, Walmart created internal “Associate Resource Groups” (ARGs) like SERVES ARG to help veteran employees connect with and support others like them. It offers $1-a-day debt-free education through the Live Better U program and offers expanded access to healthcare and wellness programs through telehealth partnerships with the VA.
In 2019, just six years after pledging to hire 30,000 vets, military spouses and caregivers as part of its Operation: Opportunity program, Hilton reached that goal. It quickly vowed to hire another 25,000 by 2025. A longtime supporter of the military, the hotel chain has donated more than 525,000,000 points to more than 5,300 veterans, who used them for more than 5,200 free stays. Military appreciation is built into its corporate culture and Hilton gives special perks and benefits to veterans.
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