PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway was selected to receive the 2014 Military Officers Association of America's Distinguished Service Award, which honors individuals or organizations for their strong support of national defense and the uniformed service community, the company announced Thursday. The company was recognized by MOAA for its "outstanding support as an employer of Guard and Reserve members and veterans."
"It is an honor to receive this important recognition from the Association. We take great pride in providing employment opportunities to our men and women in uniform, whether they are Reservists, National Guard or veterans," said Safeway EVP Larree Renda, who accepted the award on Safeway's behalf at an evening ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 8. "We encourage all employers to consider how their business could benefit from the training, discipline and strong character that is synonymous with America's military men and women."
Safeway has a long-standing tradition of supporting the military and veterans. The company was among the first employers to commit (more than 10 years ago) to covering the pay differential and extending full benefits to employees in the Reserve and National Guard who were called to active duty. Safeway continues to provide this benefit today. The company actively pursues employment opportunities for returning veterans through three targeted programs. Safeway's Junior Military Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer programs were launched in 2010 and 2011, respectively, and accept applicants who have been military officers and places them in an accelerated leadership program. The programs include on-the-job training, job-shadowing and classroom seminars. Graduates qualify for store manager and assistant manager positions, along with other manager-level roles in supply chain, distribution and the company's division and corporate headquarters.
In 2012, Safeway expanded its military hiring initiative further to include an even broader cross-section of the military personnel from all backgrounds through its Retail Military Recruiting Program. This program focuses on hiring veterans and military personnel to the retail store environment into such positions as baker, courtesy clerk, Starbucks clerk, night crew and department managers. Through the efforts of division recruiters, the Safeway team connects with local military and veteran community-based organizations to help find high-quality candidates for their retail stores. Since 2012, Safeway has hired nearly 3,600 veterans or members of the Guard and Reserve. Safeway also has committed to hiring at least another 1,500 veterans or members of the Guard and Reserve in 2014.
In addition to employment opportunities, the company raises funds on Veterans Day weekend. To date, Safeway has collected and donated $2.6 million to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and other organizations that help veterans recover from service-related injuries and/or return to the civilian workforce. Safeway's various divisions also participate in local fundraisers and community service initiatives to support the military. These programs are in addition to ongoing commitments to continue full benefits for Safeway employees who are called to active duty, and to ship care packages — more than 2,500 to date — to soldiers overseas.