8 Vet-Loving Dow Companies

NEW YORK (TheStreet -- Veterans Day is celebrated every Nov. 11 and has been every year since 1918, except for a few years from 1971 through 1977 when the date of observance was moved. Veterans Day honors Americans that have served in the country's armed forces and the date is significant in that World War I ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

In 1968, a law ensuring three-day weekends for federal holidays was passed and moved Veterans Day to the last Monday in October. The law was enacted in 1971. The significance of the Nov. 11 date however raised ire and confusion around the country, particularly among many still-living World War I vets. Some states disregarded the October holiday and maintained the traditional date. In 1975, President Ford signed a law returning Veterans Day to its traditional Nov. 11 observance nationwide. That law was enacted in 1978.

Some celebrate the day with parades; stores offer bargains and some restaurants give veterans discounts. However, while most veterans appreciate the recognition of a parade and a free meal, a job is even better. The following companies are noteworthy for being military friendly. Victory Media, a vet-owned business, compiled a list of these companies with MilitaryFriendly.com.

"Our Military Friendly Employers constitute those companies who are actually moving the needle and hiring from the military community," said Sean Collins, vice president for Victory Media and a nine-year Navy veteran. "The 2014 Military Friendly Employers ® reported hiring over 117,000 service members and spouses over the last 12 months, representing an average of 14% of total new hires. This isn't a pledge, it's an update of ongoing hiring activities."

Eight of those employers, listed below, are also in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, making them the most military-friendly of the Dow companies.

While JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) may be accused of many things, it rarely gets the compliments it deserves for its veteran recruiting. JPMorgan is the top military-friendly Dow company with 20 employees recruiting veterans. The big four bank has had 2,908 new hires of veterans, of which 3% are in leadership roles.

The bank formed a coalition of companies to hire 100,000 vets by 2020 and to date they have given 18,249 jobs to veterans. JPMorgan is very generous and pays a full salary to its active duty members. When it comes to National Guard members and reservists, it continues life insurance and medical coverage for these service people and their dependents. Relocation opportunities are also available upon deployment.

General Electric ( GE) GE appreciates the values that define a vet's career and believes those values are shared with the company. At least 10 employees work on recruiting veterans and their spouses and they have achieved results. The company has hired 1,018 transitioning military members and veterans and 3% of the vets are in leadership positions. GE is also generous to guards and reservists in medical benefits and insurance. GE doesn't just stop at hiring these deserving vets, it also tracks them to make sure that they stay once they are hired and provides relocation opportunities on deployment.

Verizon ( VZ) focuses on matching veterans with the best positions for them personally. With Verizon's wide range of career areas and locations, it is able to provide vets with opportunities to reflect who they are and who they aspire to be.

Verizon has 12 employees to recruit veterans and spouses and that focus has paid off with 664 transitioning military members and veterans having been hired. Even better, 6% are in leadership positions. It doesn't just stop at hiring; the company works hard to keep these employees and ranked in the top 25 for retention. It's also great to the spouses with on-site day care and day-care reimbursement. Those with government clearance can call Verizon home as 90% of the positions require a security clearance.

AT&T ( T) prides itself on helping veterans transition their military skills to a corporate environment. On the employee side, AT&T veterans help with networking and development. Vets represent 9% of its leadership positions and the company has hired 334 military members and veterans.

AT&T is also very generous to guards and reservists, providing medical coverage and some benefits. On the supplier side, AT&T Supplier Diversity tries to bring disabled veteran-owned companies into the AT&T supply chain.

Home Depot ( HD) has taken a different approach to America's veterans. Rather than putting an emphasis on hiring, the company commits money to housing initiatives like improving the homes of economically disadvantaged vets. To date, it has spent $80 million in these efforts. Home Depot provides a full salary differential for active duty members. Home Depot supports the use of veteran-owned suppliers and specifically mentions them on a company supplier diversity page.

Wal-Mart ( WMT) compares its values to those in the military. There are two employees that recruit vets and their spouses. Wal-mart seems especially helpful to spouses with job relocation assistance and part-time employment for spouse employees during deployment. The big box retailer also provides managerial level training programs for military spouses. Medical benefits and insurance is continued for guards and reservists. Wal-Mart gives full salary differential for active duty members.

Microsoft ( MSFT) is a key partner of the Department of Defense and so current employees already work daily with military personnel. Microsoft offers its employees a chance to continue serving their country with roles that support government actions.

The IT giant offers similar positions and salaries upon return for military employees, as well as salary differential for active duty members. Microsoft only has one employee working on hiring vets, however it is a great place to go if you have government security clearance.

UnitedHealth ( UNH) doesn't have a person specifically appointed to hiring vets, but all HR managers are required to attend military recruitment training. As expected, UnitedHealth continues life insurance and medical coverage for guards and reservists. The company also has positions for personnel with government clearance. UnItedHealth also promotes veteran-owned businesses as suppliers.

--Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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