Private equity firm The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) announced that it has partnered with the White House to support military veterans. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) co-founder CEO Steve Schwarzman said that his firm will recruit 50,000 veterans for its portfolio companies in the next five years.


Schwarzman said that the idea first came during a Business Roundtable meeting where he and the First Lady were both present.  First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have started a national initiative called “Joining Forces” that encourages private companies to hire military veterans.

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) chief said that Ms. Obama spoke to them about the problems veterans face finding jobs. Twenty-eight veterans are committing suicide every day. He thought about it and said The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) will do what it can to help the national heroes. Veterans have many personal attributes, skills and talent that the private equity firm looks for in an employee. They are hardworking, collaborative and have leadership skills, added Schwarzman. They will help The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)’s portfolio companies grow and succeed.

The private equity firm is also planning to build support structures like a management trainee program that will help military veterans adapt to their new careers in the private sector. Schwarzman thinks mentoring and training will help them transition to civilian life and cultivate necessary skills.

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) operating partner Sandy Ogg said that 50,000 is a very realistic figure. The company has already started talking with CEOs of its larger portfolio companies, including Hilton, which recruits about 20,000 new employees every year, and Allied Barton which hired 4,100 military veterans last year.

Earlier in January, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), announced to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. It will help Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) become the largest employer in the country, surpassing the US military.

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) shares were up 1.42 percent to $20.75 at 3:24 PM EDT.