ATLANTA, April 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UPS (NYSE: UPS) announced today plans to hire 50,000 veterans by the end of 2018. The total doubles the company's original five-year hiring pledge made last year as part of the Obama Administration's Joining Forces initiative. In 2013, UPS hired 13,000 veterans, an increase of more than 30 percent from the prior year. Additionally, UPS will increase its employee volunteer service hours committed to veterans and Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). Employees will now contribute 50,000 service hours as part of the expanded pledge announced at an employment summit and career forum focusing on the aviation industry at Fort Campbell, Ky., attended by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. UPS employees already have logged more than 18,000 volunteer hours directly to veterans and VSOs. "UPS made great progress in our first year as part of the Joining Forces initiative that we believe that we could accept the challenge to increase our commitment," said John McDevitt, senior vice president, human resources and labor relations. "We are honored to welcome these Americans into our company and have seen firsthand the immense value they bring to UPS because of their skills and experience." UPS serves as an advisor to the military as a part of the national initiative to increase access to civilian credentialing, certifications and apprenticeships for service members in order to simplify the transition into the civilian work force. The program is designed to provide better educational, empowerment and wellness opportunities for veterans and their families. UPS's delivery driver position is certified in the Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship Program which enables eligible military veterans to draw G.I. Bill funds while being trained as a UPS driver. There are plans to seek approvals for other UPS positions in IT, operations and automotive. More details on how to apply for UPS's program will be released in the future.