General Electric (NYSE:GE) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) both unveiled plans on Monday to hire thousands of U.S. veterans as part of efforts to expand domestically and spark innovation.
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In a statement, GE said it will hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years as part of its “Hire our Heroes” partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and invest $580 million to expand its aviation business.
The company will also open several manufacturing skill-building centers called “GE Garages” and double the amount of engineering interns it takes on each year.
The announcement comes ahead of a four-day event with partners in Washington, D.C. dedicated to America’s long-term economic and industry growth, with discussions centered on manufacturing, innovation, jobs and integrating veterans into the civilian workforce.
The company will partner with the Chamber to provide hiring training for veterans and help fund 400 jobs fairs for veterans in 2012. GE already employs some 10,000 veterans and has about 100 U.S. employee reservists currently serving overseas.
The new commitments are an effort to “strengthen America’s global competitiveness and by building a more highly skilled workforce, lowering healthcare costs and supporting the integration of the nation’s veterans into the workforce,” GE said.
GE will launch new pilot programs expected to improve healthcare delivery in Louisville, Ky. and Erie, Pa. this year, building on an earlier launch in Cincinnati that reduced costs to employees.
The world’s largest maker of jet engines also plans to expand its aviation business’ manufacturing and research and development activity in 2012 to boost production. The unit is adding more than 400 new manufacturing jobs and will open three new plants in 2013 currently under construction in Ellisville, Miss., Auburn, Ala. and Dayton, Ohio.
Those plans are a part of GE’s broader plan to construct or rebuild 16 plants and add more than 12,000 new jobs over the next few years. Since sharply reducing its workforce during the recession, GE has added about 9,000 U.S. workers since 2009.
The Fairfield, Conn.-based company will also double the number of GE engineering interns to more than 5,000 as part of an initiative proposed by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to add 10,000 more engineering graduates a year in the U.S. The diversified manufacturing and services company hires 80% of full-time engineers from the internship pool.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan said it plans to open 200 new branches in Florida and hire more veterans this year as the company searches for thousands of new employees.
In 2011, the bank hired 3,000 ex-military out of a total of 17,000 net new jobs, amounting to about 10 veterans a day on average.
“We want to do our part to help America grow again,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview with FOX Business.
The four-day event in the Capitol called “American Competitiveness: What Works” will bring together more than 65 leaders from business and politics, including Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) CEO Andrew Liveris, Boeing (NYSE:BA) CEO Jim McNerney and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) vice president of research and special initiatives, Alfred Spector.
Political representatives include U.S. Dept. of Commerce chief of staff, Bruce Andrews, Speaker John Boehner, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs General, Senator Patty Murray.
“American business can compete and win anywhere,” GE chief executive Jeff Immelt said. “There are companies and communities all across the country that are leading the way."