On Memorial Day, millions of Americans will salute the
courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.
Coca-Cola is honored to give our veterans our full support. Last
year around this time, we pledged to hire at least 800 military veterans in
2012. We surpassed that commitment, hiring 888 veterans, and we’re on
track to exceed this total in 2013. I cannot think of a better way to say “thank
you” to our veterans and their families.
Our relationship with the U.S. military dates
back to 1941 during World War II, when chairman Robert Woodruff "committed
to see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five
cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company." Mr. Woodruff knew this simple pleasure would inspire a few
moments of optimism and happiness when both were in short supply. That same
decade, we began a more than 70-year partnership with the USO, and today we
provide military personnel with more than 2 million beverage servings per day.
Our veterans recruitment strategy is designed to identify
and acquire military talent at all levels through specialized training for
company recruiters and hiring managers and a military career website. We also develop partnerships with the U.S. Department of Defense
and participate in key military career conferences, job fairs and networking
events. And our Military Veteran Business Resource Group links veterans,
non-veterans and their family members from all branches of military service.
In addition to recruiting military veterans for a variety of
roles in our company, The Coca-Cola Foundation is hiring veterans as fitness
trainers in Chicago and San Antonio, and we’re expanding to other markets in
the United States. This program is called Troops
for Fitness, and it’s an important part of our commitment to create
awareness around choice and active living, and to help people make informed
decisions for themselves and their families.
And we’re not alone. Companies like Walmart, The Home Depot, General Electric, 7-Eleven and Bank of America,
to name a few, are actively supporting and hiring military veterans.
Why? Because in addition to being the right thing to do,
hiring veterans makes good business sense. Here are a few of the many reasons
why veterans have both the skillset and mindset to make organizations like ours
stronger and more disciplined in a rapidly changing global economy:
Veterans are nimble decision-makers and troubleshooters who can think and act
on their feet and under pressure. In addition, they are natural team-builders
The U.S. military provides unparalleled training in technical and people skills
that transcend function and geography, which means veterans enter the civilian
workforce as credentialed professionals and proven peak performers.
Military personnel channel a positive, mission-first energy, a relentless work
ethic and a can-do, get-it-done attitude that’s both inspiring and contagious. And
because of their physical training, veterans make excellent role models who inspire
those around them to become more active, healthy and fit.
- Sense of
Duty: With a demonstrated commitment to the greater good, veterans live and
breathe the values of honor, respect, integrity and courage each day. They take
pride in their work and hold themselves and their teams accountable for
Perspective: Veterans are culturally conversant and represent a diverse
range of backgrounds and perspectives.
In short, veterans provide as much value for business as
business does for them. Our military personnel have voluntarily endured
hardships to serve and protect our country. We believe that when they return
home, they deserve support and recognition from organizations like Coca-Cola.