GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Meijer achieved Gold-level status as a Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), the company said Wednesday. The retailer was recognized for its commitment to hiring, retaining and supporting military veterans.
Meijer is the first retailer to earn the MVAA’s prestigious Gold-level honor as a VFE and is only the 20th to receive the Gold-level status, an achievement reached by just 3% of the more than 532 Michigan VFEs.
“Given the numerous Michigan team members identifying as veteran or active-duty service men and women, this recognition means a lot to us,” said Tim Williams, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at Meijer. “Our focus is not just on hiring those who served, but also offering a workplace that values the unique strengths their service provides and offers the resources they need to thrive.”
One such resource is mVets, the retailer’s team member affinity group devoted to creating a safe space for service members, veterans and their allies to build community and share their voices and experiences. Meijer mVets Co-Lead, Director of Food Safety & Quality Compliance and current Army Reserve Col. Thomas McMahan played a significant role in building the submission describing the retailer’s commitment to serving Meijer military service members, veterans and their families that secured the retailer’s Gold-level VFE certification.
“The work mVets is doing is important to our team members,” said McMahan, who’s served in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 30 years. “Not only are we supporting active and veteran service members and their families, but we’re also helping to build an environment of education and understanding around what it means to have served.”
MVAA, the state’s central coordinating agency for Michigan’s more than 550,000 veterans, launched the VFE program 8 years ago to support, recognize and enhance employers’ veteran-centric initiatives. Starting with just 10 companies in 2014, the VFE program has grown to include 532 employers – 20 Gold, 57 Silver and 455 Bronze.
“Meijer is a Michigan staple and I am proud to see them become a Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer,” MVAA Director Zaneta Adams said. “Our veterans are equipped with valuable skills and abilities that make them excellent job candidates and we are proud to see one of the nation’s most trusted retailers join the ranks of other Gold-level VFEs. The work they do to hire, retain and support our veterans is part of what makes Michigan a great place to live, raise a family, work and retire.”
Through the VFE program, employers are certified Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on their commitment to recruiting, training and retaining veterans. Bronze-Level Employers must commit to hiring a specific number of veterans, among other requirements, while Silver-Level Employers must meet all Bronze requirements and implement a certain number of veteran-friendly programs, such as on-the-job training.
Gold-Level VFEs must meet all Bronze and Silver requirements, show they retain a significant number of veteran employees over a 12-month period and implement a set number of veteran-centric programs.