ALA Executive Briefing
Jun. 29, 2012

The state of affairs for veterans seeking jobs
Unemployment rates among veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are higher that their non-veteran counterparts, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki speaks with host Melissa Block about the challenges for veterans in today's job market.More

Taxpayers paying twice for veterans' health care plans
USA Today
The Department of Veterans Affairs spent an estimated $13 billion to care for veterans whose health coverage was already paid for by Medicare — a case of the taxpayer paying twice, according to recently published research. More

Patience among Camp Lejeune's military families is wearing thin
Government Executive
The bonds between former Marines are as strong as steel, and become even stronger when they share the belief that the Pentagon has done them wrong. Such is the case among thousands of Marine families who spent time at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during several decades when the base's drinking water was tainted with toxic chemicals as a result of careless military operations.More

Hearing focuses on challenges active troops and veterans face
The Washington Times
The financial challenges of active military and veterans took center stage on June 26, during a congressional hearing on efforts to improve consumer protection for the military community.More

Winn-Dixie fills pet prescriptions
Supermarket News
Winn-Dixie Stores here is the latest supermarket to join a growing list of grocery chains filling pet prescriptions. The new service is offered through a partnership with Center Pet Pharmacies, according to reports. Pet prescriptions that are also effective in humans are filled same day, and special compounds typically within 24 to 48 hours.More

Current US grocery retailing trends
Progressive Grocer
The latest statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department provide very clear insights into the current trends taking place in the industry. The highlights of our most recent analysis are as follows.More

How to eat on $33 a week
Fox News
Rory Freedman writes, "The week started with a blur — parties, events, benefits — and grocery shopping. Only this week was different, because my food budget shrank to $33. I was taking the food stamp challenge."More

Why supermarkets are so 20th century
No one likes grocery shopping — you wander the aisles, feel up produce, and dump cans of SpaghettiOs and heads of lettuce into a cart. Then you have to trudge home — or at least to your car — with bags weighing you down on both sides. The U.S. grocery market is a $538 billion industry, and only 2 percent of that revenue comes via the Web — a share that's far less than in the pet supply, book, baby products and cosmetics industries, according to Forrester. That means it's an area ripe for innovation and tech integration. More

Battle of the sexes at the supermarket
Fox News
According to recent national studies, men have started to catch up with women in the grocery aisles. More men are cooking household meals, scavenging for coupons in unexpected places, and having more influence in shopping decisions.More

10 things you need to stock a frugal kitchen
U.S. News & World Report
Cooking your own food is a great way to save money. But if your kitchen utensils consist primarily of extra plastic forks from takeout, cooking can be daunting. Fear not! This list includes everything you need to get started preparing delicious food at home.More

Survey reveals growing consumer demand for antibiotic-free meat
Imagine a world where the medicines we use to treat common illnesses, like strep throat and ear infections, no longer work. Public-health advocates argue this kind of public health crisis could fast become a reality if antibiotic use in the agriculture industry is not reduced or eliminated. Currently, 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used by the meat and poultry industries to accelerate the growth (fatten) of most beef, chicken and pork sold in U.S. supermarkets. This practice is believed to result in "superbugs," bacteria resistant to one or more antibiotics that can cause deadly diseases in humans.More

Save on grocery staples
Fox News
Keep your food bills in check with these tips to spend less on the everyday essentials.More

VA for Vets Hiring Fair

Dear Friends,

Next week in Detroit, the Department of Veteran's Affairs is sponsoring a three-day hiring fair, with more than 24,000 jobs available to our nation's veterans.

To find out more, check out

The jobs are not just in Detroit — in fact, more than 80 percent of the jobs are located throughout the country. And if you can't make it to the job fair, you can access job opportunities by video teleconference from Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Drum, New York; and Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.

These video teleconference sites are also available from Adjutant General offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Go to and click the link for Virtual Participation in the left navigation for more information on how to connect with an employment opportunity virtually.

In just the last year, more than 1,600 companies have hired more than 70,000 veterans and military spouses through Joining Forces. Many of these companies are now headed to Detroit to hire even more.

It's clear that companies throughout America want to hire veterans and this is an opportunity that can't be missed! So if you know a veteran looking for a job — or a service member transitioning out of the military — make sure you send this email to him or her.



Brad Cooper is the executive director of Joining Forces. Learn more about the Joining Forces initiative: Visit More

In case you missed it

Here are a few top stories from the Joining Forces blog:

Translating Veterans' Skills into Veterans' Jobs
Organizations and companies throughout America are stepping up to help with veterans' "skill translation" — and the timing is important: More than 1,000,000 veterans will be transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce in the coming years.

Military Spouse Attorneys Answer the Joining Forces Challenge
June 14, is the One Year Anniversary of the Military Spouse JD Network.

New Guide Highlights Best Practices and Innovations in Helping Veterans
Thrive in the Private Sector: More than 30 companies and organizations from America's private sector share lessons learned in effective recruitment, assimilation, retention and development of veterans in the civilian workforce.

Sign up for the Joining Forces newsletter, visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Wal-Mart lags in clinic race
The Wall Street Journal
Five years after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. promised to open thousands of health care clinics in its sprawling supercenters, it has fallen far behind its industry rivals in what has become a race to provide basic medical care in stores. (Subscription required.)More

Brand names increase in popularity among shoppers
Women's Wear Daily
Well-known brand names continue to make inroads with consumers when they're deciding how to spend their money. (Subscription required.)More

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube marketers: This is why you never, ever start campaigns on Friday
The Washington Post
There are good times to start social media marketing campaigns, and there are absolutely horrible why-on-earth-would-you-choose-that times. How's a savvy online marketer to know which is which?More

Survey reveals impact of Google shopping on merchant sales
eCommerce Bytes
Google shook up the ecommerce industry in late May when it announced it would stop including product listings in Google Shopping search results unless merchants paid for inclusion through Google Product Listing Ads program beginning this fall.More

PVH talks plans to rev up heritage, affirms outlook
Women's Wear Daily
Over 600 Izod shops will be installed in J.C. Penney stores in September, as part of both the department store's ongoing transformation and PVH Corp.'s efforts to shore up its stalled heritage. (Subscription required.)More

Best Buy says company is committed to change but offers few specifics at shareholder meeting
The Washington Post
Best Buy's interim CEO recently said the electronics seller is operating below its full potential but is committed to changing in fundamental ways. Still, he and other executives offered few specifics at the company's annual meeting, and shares slipped nearly 4 percent.More

In 'green wheat' drive, Wal-Mart may transform farming
Wal-Mart Stores Inc has long used its commercial might to forge a global supply chain with ruthless efficiency. It now has a new target: U.S. wheat fields. More

Wal-Mart unveils 5 new Neighborhood Markets in Denver area
The Denver Post
Wal-Mart is opening five new Neighborhood Markets this month in the Denver area — presenting a full line of groceries in a more compact size than its customers are used to. More

Going on vacation? Now you can put it on layaway
Layaway used to be reserved for big-ticket items like televisions or leather couches. Now, you can use it for your summer vacation. More

Study: Women crazy for multi-tasking makeup
MarketingDaily via MediaPost
When it comes to cosmetics, women are craving products that can practically tap dance while singing "Ave Maria," according to a new report from the NPD Group. In fact, the more marketers create make-up with multiple benefits, the more women expect from them, with 86 percent saying they now look for makeup with additional skincare benefits. More

The French still flock to bookstores
The New York Times
The French, as usual, insist on being different. As independent bookstores crash and burn in the United States and Britain, the book market in France is doing just fine. France boasts 2,500 bookstores, and for every neighborhood bookstore that closes, another seems to open. From 2003 to 2011 book sales in France increased by 6.5 percent. More

Fireworks, BBQs in high demand this Independence Day
Retail's BIG Blog
It's the day we celebrate our history; the day we honor those who fought for America's independence so very long ago. It's also the day millions of Americans fire up the grill, pack the car with beach gear and head downtown to the nearest fireworks display. Independence Day is right around the corner and consumers are already conjuring up festive summer holiday celebration ideas.More

Best Buy gets back in the game with new tagline, focus
Advertising Age
Amid an executive exodus, a prolonged sales slump and increasing competition from rivals, Best Buy is trying to get back in fighting shape before the crucial back-to-school and holiday seasons. More

Retail industry working for smart health care reform
Retail Means Jobs
The impact of the decision on the Affordable Car Act will change how the industry will be required to provide health care to their employees. Retailers can turn to NRF to get information about the issues at stake and what they can mean to retail employers. More

Project McDonald's: Designer 'de-Americanizes' fast food uniform
Yahoo News
Wayne Hemingway has gone where no high fashion designer has gone before: McDonald's. Eighteen months ago, the man behind HemingwayDesign and the award-winning street style label Red or Dead, was tasked with revamping the fast food giant's burger-colored (that's being kind) uniforms. More

Wary of plastic and waste, some consumers turn to glass
The New York Times
Glass water bottles, so yesterday. Plastic, so convenient; metal, so hip. But now, in back to the future fashion, glass is making a bit of a comeback. And it is being helped in a small way by an entrepreneur who is developing a reusable glass bottle that is hard to break and will not shatter if broken.More

Pepsi brands benefit from new marketing formula
Convenience Store News
After a few years of not investing enough in advertising and marketing, PepsiCo is looking to shift its focus and strengthen its brands. Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, admitted that the company had put an emphasis on building to many brands at once and, as a result, may have spread itself too thin. But the beverage giant is changing tracks this year with efforts to fortify the leading brands — Pepsi Cola, Gatorade and Mountain Dew. To that end, PepsiCo is planning to increase its overall marketing by 40 percent for the three.More

Restaurant blues: Americans eating out less
MSN Money
Dining out is practically a national pastime for Americans. From celebrating a special occasion to simply taking a break from cooking at home, people enjoy eating out. But in this economy, they're eating out less — and that may be taking a toll on some restaurant stocks.More

The Exchange welcomes Brig. Gen. Casey D. Blake as deputy director

Since April 2011, Brig. Gen. Blake has been the deputy commander of Joint Theater Support Contracting Command, U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan. He led more than 300 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, civilians, contract employees and local nationals at one headquarters location, and 12 regional contracting centers geographically dispersed across the Afghanistan/joint operations areas, as they fulfilled more than 30,000 theater support contract actions collectively valued at more than $6 billion annually.

He provided contract support for more than 300,000 U.S., coalition and Afghan forces as the primary contracting officer for both U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and as the Senior Contracting Official-Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Blake entered the Air Force in 1984 through the ROTC program at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. He holds an Master of Business Administration in management from Golden Gate University in California. He has served in a variety of leadership roles, as an information management officer; Air Force mission director of a NATO fighter wing; warranted procuring contracting officer for major defense acquisition programs; and contracts chief at both an air logistics center and product center. He commanded a contracting squadron at the Base and Major Command specialized levels; served as both a deputy mission support group commander and Defense Contract Management Agency group commander; deployed as a contingency contracting officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and served as the Senior Contracting Official-Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Brig. Gen. Blake's extensive experience makes him a valuable addition to the Exchange. Please join me in welcoming him in his new role as the Exchange's deputy director.

Thomas P. Ockenfels
Col., U.S. Army
Chief of StaffMore

Army chief talks Warfighter, future force during Fort Hood visit
U.S. Army
The future Army force must be able to respond to complex missions quickly with flexibility and adaptability in all formations, explained Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno, June 22, at Fort Hood.More

Officials break ground on new hotel at Fort Riley
U.S. Army
Fort Riley will soon have a Candlewood Suites on post that is scheduled to open in the fall 2013. A groundbreaking ceremony took place June 12 to mark the official start of the construction for the hotel. The building of the hotel is made possible through the partnership of the Privatization of Army Lodging, Lend Lease, or PAL and InterContinental Hotels Group.More

Heat illness: Prevention is best defense
U.S. Army
Warmer weather means it's time for picnics, barbecues and baseball, but it also heralds the beginning of heat illness season. Heat illnesses not only take the fun out of warm weather activities, they also undermine the mission and readiness of the Army.More