HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) announced today that it anticipates hiring 6,500 veterans and military spouses in 2014. The hiring goal builds on the more than 6,000 veterans and spouses hired in 2013, and nearly doubles the 3,500 hired in 2012. The company currently employs more than 30,000 veteran associates, many of whom are still serving in the National Guard and the Reserve forces. "Sears Holdings has long been recognized as one of the country's leading military employers," said Dean Carter, chief human resources officer, Sears Holdings. "We look forward welcoming another 6,500 veterans and military spouses to the company as they start a rewarding career with us." Sears Holdings surpassed its 2013 goal to hire 6,000 veterans and veteran spouses. These associates joined the company in a variety of roles, including store manager, category manager and marketing project manager. The company's efforts to bring talented veterans into leadership roles is gaining traction as it realized a 20 percent increase in salaried veteran hires from 2012 to 2013, and plans to continue that trend moving forward. While Sears' history of supporting its military heroes dates as far back as 1916, its support of recent partnerships—such as the White House's Operation Joining Forces (2010) and its (?) Military Spouse Employment Partnership (2011)—have directed additional resources toward eliminating veteran unemployment. One of those resources is Sears' Invite a Veteran to Work Day, which held its inaugural event this past November, at both the Hoffman Estates headquarters and in Sears and Kmart stores. The event recognizes the 30,000 veteran associates as well as their military families, while also providing employment resources to the veteran community online and in-store. "Sears Holdings recognizes that our nation's servicemen and women possess unique skill sets and leadership qualities difficult to find anywhere else," said Sherry Nolan-Schultz, vice president, talent acquisition and diversity, Sears Holdings. "The knowledge and proficiencies learned in the service has helped military veterans transition into positions involving a wide range of industry disciplines such as logistics, store management, loss prevention and home services." The company's leading recruitment programs place veterans in jobs within the organization and also supports military spouses through the Military Spouse Employment Program and Joining Forces. Sears Holdings also offers a military pay differential to its full-time associates who are reservists and serving on active duty, allowing each to continue participating in life insurance, medical and dental programs. Sears will also hold a comparable position for deployed employees for up to five years.