Coca-Cola Refreshments has launched a campaign to recruit military talent at all levels, with a commitment to offer at least 800 jobs to veterans in 2012.

These new employees will join the more than 5,500 veterans already working for the Company throughout the United States.

Why It’s a Great Time to Hire Veterans

This staffing program couldn’t come at a better time: In recent months the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has climbed as high as 12 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The updated personnel strategy includes several key features, such as special training for recruiters and hiring managers, a military career website and partnerships with Department of Defense agencies.

As part of the program, Coca-Cola Refreshments also plans to participate in career conferences, as well as networking events and job fairs in major cities, including Cincinnati, San Antonio, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Coca-Cola Refreshments is a division of The Coca-Cola Company that encompasses many of the Company’s North American businesses, including bottling and distribution.

"Our military personnel have made incredible sacrifices to serve and protect their country, and when they return home, they deserve support and recognition from companies like Coca-Cola," says Steve Cahillane, president and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Refreshments. "It's also in the best interest of companies to consider military vets, as they offer a wide variety of skills, diversity of perspective and ingrained leadership and drive."

A Long History of Helping the Troops

Coca-Cola’s significant support of U.S. military troops dates to 1941, when former Company President Robert Woodruff committed "to see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5 cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the Company."

That same decade, the Company also initiated a partnership with the USO, which has been going strong for more than 70 years.

Today, the Coca-Cola system provides military personnel with more than 2 million beverage servings each day through its military channels.

Throughout the year, many marketing programs also pay tribute to and reward veterans for their service.

How Members of the Military Can Learn More

Veterans can log onto the new military careers site at enjoycareers.com/military to find recruiting events in their areas.

"Coca-Cola Refreshments recognizes that our military provides a strategic, qualified talent pipeline for our organization," Cahillane says. "Recruiting military veterans is not just the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing for our business."