I consider myself very fortunate to work for a company that is a leader in attracting, hiring, retaining and supporting U.S. veterans. One of the many benefits of working at Comcast is the strength of our employee resource group, called VetNet. I was thrilled when I was asked to serve as the lead of Comcast’s VetNet in May 2012. Today, we have nearly 700 members, including several Comcast senior executives and continue to roll out additional groups across the country in New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, and others. NBCUniversal also has a veteran employee resource group and together we aim to serve as a base of support for members, including onboarding, mentorship and sponsorship programs and events focused on growing the professional and personal development of veterans.
There is also a strong community service component to our work. For example, last April during Comcast Cares Day, VetNet supported nearly 40 veteran-related projects around the country at comfort houses, VA hospitals, camps, and memorial parks and cemeteries. I rolled up my sleeves at three projects, including the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, which is a homeless shelter for veterans, Mount Moriah Cemetery, which has a significant area of the cemetery dedicated to veteran burial plots, and the Philadelphia National Cemetery. In 2012, I volunteered at a veterans group home painting rooms and benches, landscaping and doing light carpentry. Since then, I have built a long-term relationship with the organization and am now proud to serve on their Board along with one of my fellow veterans and colleagues.
Hiring is also a priority of Comcast and VetNet. It’s astonishing when you look at the national rates of unemployment for veterans ― more than 10 percent for post-9/11 veterans, nearly 30 percent for veterans under 25-years-old, and 26 percent for military spouses. Earlier this year, Comcast and NBCUniversal announced that we reached our three-year goal of hiring 1,000 veterans two years ahead of schedule and that we’ve committed to doubling our efforts and hiring an additional 1,000 U.S. veterans by 2015, a pledge that contributes to the "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative. We also proudly participate in iHeartRadio's Show Your Stripes campaign launched by Clear Channel. Through our many initiatives, over the last 18 months alone, we’ve hired well over 1,600 veterans at Comcast and NBCUniversal working in a variety of positions at all levels, including network engineering, technology, operations, theme parks and resorts, programming, customer service, marketing, human resources and other careers. Please click on the video above to learn more about VetNet and the support that Comcast provides returning veterans and reservists.