Tyson Foods showed its commitment to hiring U.S. military veterans at an April 23 event where U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new government tool, called the Veterans Employment Center, designed to simplify job-hunting for veterans, transitioning service members, National Guard members, reservists and military spouses. Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden delivered remarks to more than 1,000 service members, military spouses, and private sector employers at the Fort Campbell Veterans Jobs Summit.

Tyson Foods has hired more than 3,000 military veterans since 2011, when it committed to hiring more veterans as part of its involvement in the American Logistics Association. The company continues to hire more as part of an initiative called “Camo to Khaki,” a reference to Tyson Foods’ often-worn khaki uniform.

“We support and honor our country’s veterans,” said Rodney Nagel, senior vice president of human resources for Tyson Foods operations. “We employ thousands of veterans now and we’re always looking to hire more because they’re well-trained, dedicated workers, and typically have strong leadership skills that translate well to our company.” 

Tyson Foods attends more than 30 military recruiting events at military bases like Fort Campbell each year and has hosted two military job summits at its headquarters in Springdale, Ark. During the summits, typically between 20 and 30 current and recently separated soldiers are introduced to Tyson Foods through meetings with senior leadership and corporate tours; they’re then interviewed by various business unit leaders and many are offered positions on the spot. The next summit is scheduled for July. 

“As a veteran myself, I know that transitioning veterans have an excellent work ethic and are ready to apply their skills,” said Alexa O’Leary, senior military recruiter for Tyson Foods and a U.S. Army Reservist. “Our company appreciates the service our nation’s veterans have given and we think they’re a great fit in our organization.” 

Tyson Foods also supports the military by providing differential pay for all employees called to active military duty, making up the difference between military compensation and pay they normally receive from the company. Since September 11, 2001, the company has provided $2.2 million in differential pay to almost 460 team members. 

Other ways the company supports the U.S. military include: 

  • Since 2009, Tyson Foods has sponsored and helped organize 10 “Honor Flights.” Through this program, more than 800 World War II veterans have been flown from Arkansas to Washington D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial built in their honor, as well as other military memorials. Another flight is scheduled for May 3, 2014.
  • Tyson Foods is the leading supplier of food to the Defense Commissary Agency and has been helping feed the U.S. military and their families for more than 50 years. In late 2011 the company, along with other commissary suppliers, committed to hiring more veterans and military spouses. 
  • One of the company’s five pillars for corporate charitable giving is focused on military veterans and causes related to recruitment, job training and hiring; programs that address hunger or emergency food assistance for military families; and programs that assist wounded veterans.

The April 23 summit was a collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and aimed to provide transitioning service members with employment resources. The event was organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Army’s Fort Campbell, Army Career and Alumni Program, Soldier for Life, and Installation Management Command among others.