President Obama teamed up Friday with 300 U.S. companies, including Apple and Wal-Mart, to ensure the long-term unemployed are given a "fair shot" when they apply for jobs.
"Folks who've been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work," the president said at the White House on Friday. "It's a cruel catch-22; the longer you're unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem."
"They just need employers to realize it doesn't reflect at all on their abilities or their values," he said. "It just means they've been dealing with the aftermath of this really tough job market … and all they need is a fair shot."
Over 300 companies have signed onto the president's initiative to help the long-term unemployed find jobs. These companies will make sure advertising does not discourage or discriminate against people who are unemployed; reviews procedures that are used in recruiting and hiring to make sure they don't exclude people who are unemployed from consideration; and reviews recruiting practices to make sure all types of candidates, including the long-term unemployed, are encouraged to apply for jobs.
Earlier in the day, the president and vice president met with executives from major U.S. companies, including eBay, McDonald's Corporation, Boeing Company and Marriott International, to discuss best practices for ensuring the long-term unemployed are fairly considered for jobs.
Using his executive authority, the president also signed a memorandum Friday to ensure the federal government is giving the long-term unemployed the same consideration.
The president's move comes as Congress is at a standstill on unemployment insurance. Earlier this month, the Senate failed to advance legislation that would have extended unemployment insurance, which ran out at the end of last year.
"Each week that Congress fails to restore that insurance, roughly 72,000 Americans will join the ranks of the long- term unemployed who've also lost their economic lifeline," the president said. "For our fellow Americans who've been laid off through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance is often the only source of income they've got to support their families while they look for a new job."
"While Congress decides whether or not it's going to extend unemployment insurance for these Americans, we're going to go ahead and act," he said.