Obama targets help for long term unemployed
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama Friday took aim at the "illusion" that workers who have spent months or years without a job are unemployable, harnessing the support of top US firms like Apple, Walmart and Boeing.
Mr Obama secured pledges from CEOs and human resources directors to ensure that employment recruitment and screening practices do not discriminate against the long term unemployed.
"Every job applicant deserves a fair shot," Mr Obama said at a White House event gathering CEOs of top firms and owners of small businesses. The initiative was Mr Obama's latest effort to narrow the disparity between the well off in America and the struggling middle class, a theme that underpinned his State of the Union address on Tuesday and will anchor the rest of his presidency.
"Folks who've been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work," Mr Obama said. "It's a cruel Catch-22 - the longer you're unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem," he said. "Now this is an illusion, but it's one that, unfortunately, we know statistically is happening out there."