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Obama Gets Big Business To Help Long-Term Jobless

WASHINGTON (UPI) — President Barack Obama Friday signed up hundreds of top corporate executives to get them to help end discrimination against the long-term unemployed.

“Just because you’ve been out of work for a while does not mean that you are not a hard worker,” the President told CEOs from some of the Nation’s largest companies who joined him and long-term unemployed workers at the White House.

“[It] Just means you had bad luck or you were in the wrong industry or you lived in a region of the country that’s catching up a little slower than others in the recovery,” he said.

The White House said some 300 businesses, including industry leaders Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Bank of America, Apple, McDonald’s, Walgreen, General Motors, Ford and Wal-Mart, agreed to revise their hiring policies to give long-term unemployed workers a chance at jobs.

At least 21 of the Nation’s 50 largest companies have signed on.

Saying the Federal government should lead, the President issued a memorandum to government departments and agencies to “take a job applicants’ employment history and other factors into account when making hiring decisions.” The memo directed the Labor Department to spend $150 million more on Ready to Work Partnership programs to retrain workers in needed skills.

An estimated 4 million U.S. workers are characterized as long-term unemployed by the Labor Department.

A study by Northeastern University found computer-generated resumes from job applicants who had been out of work for longer than six months rarely got a response from an employer, The New York Times reported.

“Folks who’ve been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work,” Obama said. “It’s a cruel catch-22 — the longer you’re unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem. Now this is an illusion, but it’s one that, unfortunately, we know statistically is happening out there.”

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