"UPS is serious about hiring veterans," says Pat O'Leary, UPS's veteran affairs manager, based in Louisville, Ky. How serious? UPS recently announced its commitment to hire more than 25,000 U.S. veterans over the next five years. In addition, the company promised to perform more than 25,000 employee volunteer hours to help veterans and Veterans Service Organizations.
"They bring skills and experience that will help with any job at UPS."
"People who have spent time in the military understand how important it is to work as a team to be successful," says O'Leary. "They bring skills and experience that will help with any job at UPS."
UPS made the announcement in cooperation with the Obama administration's initiative "Joining Forces," a program dedicated to connecting U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses with the critical resources to find high-value jobs at home.
White House delivery
UPS Chairman and CEO Scott Davis, along with David Padilla, a package dispatch supervisor for UPS in Manhattan and a U.S. Navy veteran, participated in a Joining Forces employment event at the White House with President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. Padilla had the special honor of delivering a speech and even introduced the president and first lady during the event.
"It's not every day you get to introduce your commander in chief," says Padilla. "It was the experience of a lifetime."
Hired at UPS in 2012 through the Paving Access for Veterans Employment (PAVE) program, Padilla had spent two and a half years searching for a job before he received a callback from UPS.
"That call was a moment I cherish," he explains. "UPS was the company that gave me a chance."
A legacy of service
One of UPS's founders, George Casey, served in the Navy during World War I as a petty officer third class, and his job title was storekeeper. Today, perhaps not so ironically, that role is known as a "logistics specialist."
Three former UPS CEOs are veterans. And today, veterans and National Guard and Reserve members make up 7.5 percent of UPS's U.S. workforce.
"When I came home to New York in 1970, things here in the United States were bleak," says Gene Reilly, now a production supervisor at the corporate office in Atlanta. Reilly served as an Army Ranger during the Vietnam War. "But I was fortunate. I told a UPS recruiter I was a veteran just returning home and that I wanted to work. The rest is history – 42 years later, I'm still here."
"UPS's commitment demonstrates that UPS is serious about hiring veterans," says O'Leary, who joined UPS in 1978 after leaving the Marine Corps. "I'm proud of what UPS is doing for our veterans."