Disney, General Motors and USAA Join Forces with Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to Encourage Hiring of Military Veterans

Disney’s Veterans Institute Hosting “Hiring Our Heroes” Seminar in Detroit on June 5th to help Michigan-based Companies Build Veteran Hiring Programs 

May 28, 2015—Building on the success of its ‘Heroes Work Here’ initiative to hire, train and support military veterans, The Walt Disney Company, USAA and General Motors, in cooperation with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), will bring Disney’s Veterans Instituteto Detroit on Friday, June 5 at the General Motors Headquarters.

The daylong seminar, which will be emceed by Stephen Clark, WXYZ Detroit news anchor, is designed to educate and inspire Michigan-based companies of all sizes to build their own veteran hiring programs through special employer and veteran panels, workshops, speeches and presentations.  Highlights of the seminar include opening remarks from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and General Motors CEO Mary Barra, a keynote address from ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff and veteran hiring best practice workshops from Disney’s Veterans Institute.

The event is presented in partnership with MVAA, which will lead discussion panels focusing on veteran hiring and retention, personal stories from veterans who have transitioned into the civilian workforce, as well as state and federal resources available to both veterans and organizations looking to employ them. MVAA created the “Veteran-Friendly Employer Program” in 2014, recognizing Michigan companies and organizations committed to attracting and retaining top veteran talent.

“Since our Heroes Work Here initiative launched in 2012, more than 5,000 former servicemen and women have become part of the Disney family and another 5,000 veterans have found careers with companies across the country as a result of our program,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger. “Hiring veterans is not only the right thing to do, it¹s the smart thing to do, and we are pleased to share our insights to create career opportunities for our Veterans.”

“GM has been a strong supporter of the U.S. military for more than 100 years now, and our support continues today through a wide range of philanthropic, education, training and employment initiatives,” said Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors Company.  “GM employs thousands of active and former military and their spouses.  We are proud to serve those who have served our country, and we welcome this opportunity to partner with Disney to share, learn and encourage best practices in veteran recruitment and hiring with other companies and organizations across Michigan.”

“Veterans are a strong addition to any company because of the training and leadership they gain while in uniform,” MVAA Director Jeff Barnes said. “However, organizations looking to hire veterans often have a hard time understanding how these skills translate into the workplace and how they can best utilize veteran talent. Disney, USAA and GM have led the way in creating a blueprint for others to follow when it comes to veteran-hiring programs and employment, and MVAA is excited to bring more of these best practices to Michigan.”

The event builds on the success of Disney and USAA’s regional Veterans Instituteseminar in San Antonio last August, which attracted more than 300 participants who were trained by experts from Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative on best practices for helping veterans make a successful transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

“We saw great outcomes from the work Disney Institute did in San Antonio last year, and we’re fortunate to be a part of bringing this program to Detroit,” said Stuart Parker, CEO of USAA, which has hired more than 9,700 veterans since 2006. “Veterans are mission-oriented, disciplined and have a deep dedication to serving the community. With more than one million active-duty men and women expected to separate in the next five years, we want to share best practices to provide them a stable and successful post-military career.”

Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest Veterans Affairs mortgage lender and local leader in veteran hiring, is a supporting sponsor of the seminar.

For Michigan-based employers interested in launching a veteran hiring program, please register at GMprogramminghq.com/hoh, using the access code “GM”.


About Disney’s Heroes Work Here

Supporting the U.S. Armed Forces has long been a Disney tradition, and Disney’s Heroes Work Here continues that proud legacy with a companywide initiative to hire, train and support military veterans. Disney introduced the program in March 2012 with a commitment to hire at least 1,000 veterans by 2015. Having exceeded that goal in the first year alone, with 1,300 veterans hired, the company announced in March 2013 that it would create opportunities for another 1,000 former service members over the next two years. To date, Disney has hired more than 5,000 veterans through Heroes Work Here.

Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative also features a public awareness campaign to encourage employers across the U.S. to hire former military service members. The campaign includes the free Veterans Institute workshops, as well as public service announcements highlighting the skills and experience of veterans who work at Disney. The PSAs direct viewers to the White House’s Joining Forces website (www.joiningforces.gov) and have aired across Disney’s media properties including ESPN, ABC and ABC Family, making more than 500 million impressions.

The third component of Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative is philanthropy. Disney’s philanthropic support of veteran and military organizations has exceeded $1 million since the launch of Heroes Work Here, and through the Disney VoluntEARS program, employees have engaged in several service projects with veterans organizations in communities around the country.


About General Motors

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com


About USAA 

The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 10.7 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.


About the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

MVAA serves as the central coordinating point for Michigan veterans, connecting those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state. Learn more at MichiganVeterans.com or call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).


Mariam Sughayer
Disney Corporate Communications

Pete Casiano
USAA Public Relations

Lesley Warnke
GM Communications

Lauren DeVol
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

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