The veterans’ organization America Wants You has launched a PR campaign calling out corporate executives to make “a top priority” of hiring veterans, featuring actor Chris O’Donnell of NCIS: Los Angeles and Batman fame. In a video released this week, O’Donnell implores those who “sit in corner offices” to think about the 800,000 unemployed veterans first when making hiring decisions.
The non-partisan organization also took out a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal to reach its target audience.
An estimated 30 percent of young veterans ages 18 to 34 are unemployed, a much higher per capita rate than the general population. “That’s not just abysmal, it’s utterly catastrophic,” says Iraq veteran Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org.
America Wants You is led by three retired private-sector executives from Los Angeles and has partnered with CareerBuilder and Southwestern Energy on the effort.
The state of unemployment has spurred another advocacy program for veteran employment, the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which recruits companies to commit to hiring men and women who have served our country. Avis announced this week it was joining the cause.
America Wants You CEO John Pike, a veteran who is a former president of Paramount Network Television, says it is time for corporations to do their part.
“With over 800,000 veterans out of work, it is imperative that companies step up and help those who have been helping us,” Pike said. “It’s a corporate call to arms.”