NEW YORK (May 9, 2012)—"There is no class we hold higher in America than veterans," Jamie Dimon told a gathering of corporate leaders during "An Evening with the Fortune 500" at the New York Stock Exchange on May 7.
This year, the annual Fortune 500 dinner focused on hiring and engaging military veterans.
Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., spoke to the gathering as part of a panel discussion moderated by Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer. Other speakers included former Continental Airlines chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune and Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson.
The conversation explored practical approaches to hiring veterans and how employing veterans benefits business.
In addition to the skills, leadership and work ethic military-experienced employees bring to the table, Dimon has seen an impact on morale. "The employees at the firm are so proud of what we're doing in the military and veteran space," he said.
With the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan already beginning, a major concern is whether the economy can handle the additional people seeking jobs. Dimon firmly believes it can.
"Let's get something straight: There's no problem this country can't fix," said Dimon. "This country is ready to go. The private sector has created 4 million jobs in the last 24 months."
Pointing out that success in this effort relies on a cooperative effort among all stakeholders, Dimon explained how JPMorgan Chase works with the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs and additional government agencies, nonprofits and other companies.
100,000 Jobs update
Last year, JPMorgan Chase and 10 other firms launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission Opens third party site disclosure in a new window, a coalition of firms whose aim is to collectively hire 100,000 transitioning military members and veterans by 2020.
The coalition has now grown to 46 companies and has hired more than 12,000 veterans.
Member companies routinely share best practices and exchange ideas on hiring veterans, helping them acclimate to corporate culture, and providing them with the tools they need for successful and meaningful careers.