SEATTLE, Nov. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiring veterans is an urgent focus for businesses wishing to support American heroes as they return to civil life. The unemployment rate for veterans is significantly higher than that for the overall population. That's why, last February, Emeritus Senior Living, the nation's largest assisted living and memory care provider, made hiring veterans a top priority. The senior care provider will hire at least 1,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. As of today, Emeritus is well on its way to achieving its goal. In the last eight months, Emeritus has hired 182 veterans and 94 spouses. This endeavor is the first such veteran recruiting program in America's senior living industry. It was launched to honor and assist veterans seeking employment as well as pay tribute to the many retired military residing at Emeritus. Emeritus Senior Living, which operates over 510 senior living communities in 45 states, has a workforce of more than 31,000. Hiring veterans reflects the care provider's commitment to supporting those who serve. "We wish to show our support of the military by offering veterans and military spouses a career with our company," said Granger Cobb, president and CEO of Emeritus Senior Living. "We hope this initiative will be of value to those who have served our country. We know that their talent and commitment will be tremendously beneficial to our residents and our entire organization." Because the largest hurdle for veterans seeking civilian work is explaining the relevance of their military experience, Emeritus has identified company positions that correlate to a variety of those in the armed forces to optimize the process of hiring veterans. For example, the work of a military chef is similar to that of an Emeritus dining services director. In fact, most veterans hired have been in the Dining Services area. Other opportunities within Emeritus for veterans include positions as maintenance director, driver, resident care director, wellness nurse, medication technician, certified nursing assistant and a range of administrative positions.