1 month ago

Walmart announces 8,000 veterans hired in Alabama through Welcome Home Commitment

Walmart announced this week that it had hired 266,260 veterans since 2013, including more than 8,000 in Alabama.

First announced on Memorial Day 2013, the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment (VWHC) guaranteed a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran. The initial goal was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. Two years later, the company expanded that goal to 250,000 by the end of 2020.

“We’re forever grateful to our veterans for their service, and it’s an honor to offer them opportunities at Walmart,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO. “To reach this goal so quickly says a lot about our company as a great place to work and build a career. I’m proud of the commitment we’ve made to veterans and their families, and I’m thrilled that so many have decided to join us. They are critical to helping us achieve a more diverse and inclusive future.”

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history of supporting veterans, service members and their families by investing more than $40 million in programs that support job training, education and innovative public/private community-based initiatives.

The Military Spouses Career Connection program, started in 2018, has opened additional opportunities and support for military families. To date, the company has hired 19,045 associates and continues offering any military spouse hiring preference when applying for a job.

“We’re proud of our achievements and the opportunities presented to the talented service members who’ve honorably served our country,” said Brynt Parmeter, senior director for Walmart Military Programs. “Now, it’s our responsibility to continue preparing these men and women for meaningful futures with the Walmart community.”

Parmeter is now looking to the next chapter in Walmart’s commitment to veterans and the communities they serve. He says his team is taking an interest in employment, entrepreneurship, learning, health and wellness initiatives when looking to the future of Walmart Military Programs.

“This is such an important time for us,” he said. “Our company is committed to finding new ways that we can build relationships and engage with members of this community to advance and improve both economic opportunity and overall well-being.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 mins ago

This back-to-school season, families should decide

Parents and other observers have many understandable questions about how their local school districts are responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

At this juncture, I don’t think it’s helpful to lay much blame on anyone. There will be plenty of time for that in the future, and when the dust settles, we’re likely to find that there is real blame to go around from the state board of education all the way down to your kid’s geometry teacher. It is probably true that some number of educators and administrators did not make proper use of the time they had in late spring and early summer to adequately plan for the fall, but let’s remember two things.


First, events are constantly changing. We’re all dealing with a virus that no doctor had encountered 12 months ago, and both the spread and the effects of the virus are novel. Volatile case numbers mean that some plans for schooling must be altered or scrapped altogether. Now is simply not the time for those discussions. The goal for everyone who works not only in education, but in state and local government at large, should be to get children back to school as safely as possible. Given the summer spike in Alabama’s COVID caseload, that goal is proving elusive.

Public education in Alabama is noted for its many different school districts – county and city, both large and small. Our state is varied in its approach and it’s reasonable that the state board did not attempt to mandate how each and every district conducts itself. Areas with a very low caseload are prepping for a return to class, while some districts with high rates are choosing to remain virtual.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey suggested as many as half of the state’s students could begin the year with virtual-only education. Some districts such as my own suburban district are offering both in-person and virtual instruction; parents make the choice that’s best for their family and commit to it for the duration of the fall semester. The degree of variation and experimentation is confusing at first, but there is some hope that these varied approaches will produce helpful innovations in the way we educate our state’s children.

There is just one problem. Families are still bound to the decisions made by their local district. My own district is offering both in-person and virtual instruction, but parents had just six days to make an important decision that will stand for the entire fall semester. My family made a decision that works for us, and we hope circumstances uphold our judgment. What about families that simply cannot work within the parameters provided by their local district? If a family cannot meet these expectations without compromising either the education of their children or the financial stability of their family – then what?

We are likely to find that creative parents and concerned community members come up with various means of supplementing their children’s education if their district is all virtual, or if the pandemic shuts down in-person instruction. Anecdotal evidence from other parts of the country already suggests that parents are going to develop something that resembles the subject-based co-ops already utilized by many homeschooled children. It’s not hard to imagine something similar happening in Alabama if school-based instruction begins to falter, even if through no fault of the school district.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many things about our world, one of which is that we cannot ask our public institutions to do everything, because those institutions have their own limitations.

The ultimate decisions about a child’s education must be made within the family, by parents and other caregivers. When the local school falters, even through no fault of its own, we cannot deny parents the ability to make the best decisions on behalf of their children. In the midst of this pandemic, that may look like many things; it may be a move towards other home-based resources besides that which are provided by public schools. It may mean a move towards voluntary pods or co-ops with other families, and yes, it could mean a move towards a private school that, due to its flexibility as a smaller institution, is able to continue to meet in person.

Alabamians generally value and appreciate the public schools that serve as meaningful institutions in their communities. I mean instead to protect the freedom of families to make their own decisions. The state can best do that by allowing some of their children’s education funding to follow them in the form of education savings accounts. ESAs allow some funding to be reserved for specified education expenses, which alleviates some of the financial burdens that come with choosing to educate outside the bounds of the traditional public systems. Parents must not be constrained by finances into a bad situation; the goal of state policy should instead be to liberate parents to make the choices they deem best.

The end result of those choices may look different, but we will find in time that parents begin to create new forms of civil society that strengthen their children, their communities, and their state.

Matthew Stokes, a widely published opinion writer and instructor in the core texts program at Samford University, is a Resident Fellow of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit educational organization based in Birmingham; learn more at alabamapolicy.org.

Register Now! A free virtual conference for Alabama’s business community

Alabama businesses of all sizes will have the opportunity to connect and learn from industry experts on a wide array of topics from economic development to marketing your business in a post-COVID world. The Business Council of Alabama is excited to present Engage Alabama: A Virtual Business Summit on August 26-27, 2020.

The two-day virtual summit is open to all Alabamians and will provide tangible takeaways and practical advice on doing business in the current climate.

Speakers include Governor Kay Ivey and the state’s leading subject matter experts on topics such as diversity in the workplace, employee resources, small business development and optimizing Alabama’s transportation and broadband infrastructure.

Register Now for Engage Alabama as we continue to make Alabama a sweet home for business.

3 hours ago

7 Things: Trump signs executive order for economic relief, Jones is ready to test Tuberville, the college football season is on shaky ground and more …

7. This would make more sense if there was a VP pick for Biden

  • Even though presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t made, or announced, a final decision on who his running mate will be, the defense of that pick is already underway, referring to the coming criticism as sexist and racist with “women’s groups” already gearing up to call all detractors names.
  • According to NBC News, the groups are putting news outlets “on notice” and then ridiculously saying, “We’re not saying any attack on a woman is sexist. We’re not saying that any criticism of a woman is unfair,” as Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications at Emily’s List is quoted.

6. Child care facilities have remained open


  • Of the 2,410 child care facilities throughout Alabama, 63% have stayed open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources. That’s compared to the 12% that stayed open in the initial shut down, and there has been no reported outbreak among children.
  • The department also reported that 501 child care facilities or providers have received a total of $7 million in financial aid through Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care grant program, but 58% of facilities have had financial challenges during the pandemic.

5. Coastal cities behind in Census

  • Alabama has a statewide average response rate of 60.7% for the 2020 U.S. Census, but Gulf Shores at 35.9%, Orange Beach at 18.3% and Dauphin Island at 27.7%, are all surprisingly far behind in their responses. This is a trend being seen in other parts of the country, too. 
  • In other tourist cities, responses for the Census are well below state averages, like in Gatlinburg, TN, where participation is at 18.5%, and Destin, FL, is at 31%. Florida and Tennessee have statewide averages over 60%, but these low response rates have been attributed to the higher volume of rental homes in the area and owners have likely not responded to the Census yet. 

4. Viral Georgia school closed

  • The Georgia high school, North Paulding High School, that gained national attention after a picture of a crowded hallway was posted to social media, has decided to close the school for in-class learning and will change to virtual classes since nine students and staff have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
  • The virtual classes will only be until Tuesday at least, and the school district will notify parents if in-class learning will continue after that, but the closure is being used to sanitize facilities.

3. College football had a bad weekend

  • Much to the pleasure of the American media (even the sports media), college football appears to be headed towards more cancellation this week after last week saw both the MAC and Connecticut football both cancel their seasons. according to giddy reporting, more conferences are ready to follow suit.
  • According to CBS Sports, “prominent athletic directors spoke to CBS Sports” and told them that the season is all but done. The cancellation of the season was painted as a “when not if” situation with PAC-12 and Big Ten allegedly inching towards a delay.

2. Jones doesn’t think Tuberville has been tested

  • During this week’s edition of “Capitol Journal” on Alabama Public Television, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) said that during the primary, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t “hardly touch” on important issues with former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and he hasn’t been tested on issues that matter. 
  • Jones also said that when it comes to the recent polling data that shows Tuberville 17 points ahead of Jones, he doesn’t have a lot of “stock” in that data, mentioning how the polls were incorrect during the special election when Jones was elected in 2017. 

1. Unemployment extended

  • As the House and Senate couldn’t come to an agreement, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to extend unemployment benefits of $400 per week, a deferral on student loan payments and payroll tax, and a hold on select evictions, with Trump saying that “if Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need.”
  • Democrats have voiced displeasure with President Donald Trump’s most recent executive order, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has warned that if Democrats decide to challenge the order legally, there would likely be a delay in assistance to Americans that many deem necessary.

4 hours ago

TVA reverses course on outsourcing plan after Trump’s intervention

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has abandoned plans to outsource employees after President Donald Trump interceded on their behalf last week.

The authority earlier this year announced its intentions to outsource one out of every five of its information technology jobs, resulting in at least 200 in-house IT jobs being shipped out.

President Trump last Monday removed the TVA’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, and one other board member — citing the outsourcing plans. The president also warned the other board members that they would be next if the plans continued and called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.


On Thursday, Tupelo, MS-based Daily Journal reported that the TVA had scrapped its outsourcing plans in the wake of the the president’s opposition, as well as a related executive order he signed.

“This is certainly a win for American workers, for TVA ratepayers, and for everyone who relies on the U.S. electrical grid,” said Gay Henson, president of the Engineering Association/IFPTE Local 1937. “Our members will get their jobs back. TVA ratepayers will benefit from having skilled U.S. workers providing quality service. And the entire U.S. electrical grid will be more secure, with critical information remaining on U.S. soil.”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) reacted to the news.

“TVA is an agency of the United States government,” he stated. “The federal government, or any entity thereof, should always, whenever absolutely possible, hire American workers to do American government work. So, I’m happy that TVA reversed its decision.”

“It is unfortunate for TVA that the President had to get directly involved for them to understand that hiring Americans first should be the highest priority,” he added.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) also reacted to the TVA reversal in a Facebook post. He pointed to a letter he sent to the TVA in March about the issue.

“Thanks to an executive order from President Trump, TVA finally did the right thing yesterday and reversed their decision to replace American IT workers with foreign workers,” Brooks said on Friday. “I wrote to TVA on this issue in March demanding answers. TVA is tasked with spurring economic development. Outsourcing IT jobs is the complete opposite of what TVA should be doing. TVA should put ratepayers and Americans first.”

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in recent months also had been vocal opposing the TVA plans. Jones’ office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

19 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama coronavirus numbers drop, 200,000 students will be tested before class starts, Tuberville and Trump have huge leads and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Are the masks working?

— How will the state react to the numbers after 200,000 college students are tested before school starts back?

— Are President Donald Trump and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville sitting on insurmountable leads in Alabama?

Jackson and Handback are joined by Alabama Arise’s Jane Adams to discuss Medicaid expansion and progressive politics in Alabama.


Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” directed at all the education officials who want to cancel classes without thinking about the long-term ramifications of that decision and how people will respond politically to this in the future.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.