News / USA

Obama Secures Commitments on Hiring Long-Term Unemployed

Obama Secures Commitments on Hiring Long-Term Unemployedi
X
February 01, 2014 1:55 AM
President Barack Obama met with top American CEOs at the White House Friday to discuss commitments their companies have made to help the long-term unemployed find jobs. Senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports that the White House says 300 companies have agreed to do their part.
Obama Secures Commitments on Hiring Long-Term Unemployed
President Barack Obama met with top American CEOs at the White House Friday to discuss commitments their companies have made to help the long-term unemployed find jobs. The White House says 300 companies have agreed to do their part.

In his State of the Union Address, the president spoke of the need to help the long-term unemployed get what he called a "fair shot" at finding a job. "Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and do the same because we are stronger when America fields a full team," he said.

On Friday, Obama met with CEOs from some of the 300 companies -- including McDonald's, Boeing and Bank of America -- the White House says are committing to "best practices" for hiring. In other words, they've agreed to revamp their hiring practices to make sure those out of work for long periods get a fair shot at a job.    

The long-term unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. The government says they currently number 3.9 million.

That's nearly 40 percent of all unemployed Americans.

Erick Varela, a former combat infantryman who introduced Obama at a related White House event Friday, described the experience of prolonged joblessness. "With no luck, I was motivated to work and I wanted to work and I knew I could contribute to society, like I had in my military service. But I felt helpless, lost and more importantly, a disappointment and a failure to my family," he said.

Varela was re-trained and now has a job.

Obama called that a success story, but one that also demonstrates the challenge. "Folks who have been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work. It’s a cruel Catch-22 [paradox] -- 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."

The pledges by the CEOs are a downpayment on future progress, said Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

"When you're talking about Fortune 100 companies, you're talking about force multipliers. And when you are talking about force multipliers, you're talking about helping thousands of people," said Perez.

Obama signed an order to ensure that government agencies consider long-term unemployment when making hiring decisions. He criticized Congress for allowing unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed to lapse.

"Each week that Congress fails to restore that insurance, roughly 72,000 Americans will join the ranks of the long-term unemployed who have also lost their economic lifeline," said the president.

Republicans in Congress have argued that extended benefits create a disincentive for people to find work.

The White House is not saying how many unemployed Americans might benefit from Obama's outreach to companies, but he hopes it brings many more on board.

You May Like

Russian Help on Iran Less Promising on Syria, Ukraine

US-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

US-Ethiopia Relationship Strong, But Complicated

While Ethiopia serves as a valuable security ally and a bulwark against terrorism - the U.S., is a major aid donor and economic stimulator More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert Click from: Muskogee ok
February 02, 2014 12:25 PM
I had to move from Cali to find a job in Oklahoma no regrets. I work for mcdonalds part time with retirement I got to tell you sometimes it's no party however some Americans who have had it good with bucks do not have any comprehension of what a life has been at the end of the trough many of us have had to struggle many years to keep our heads above water their is no pie in the sky no magical 401k but there is reality. We as a people need to be flexible at all times when it comes to change, of course I'm talking about 5 figures below in income without a strong spiritual connection with god I wouldn't feel at all good today. No corporate lies or deception needed finally as always gratefully yours -ROB-

by: enrique from: usa
February 01, 2014 12:00 AM
I love how the ceo's pledge to give more jobs to the unemployed when at the same time they are the ones that are being taxed the most for being rich.
In Response

by: JohnnyO from: Colorado
February 02, 2014 3:13 AM
@enrique...by your comment, I will assume you are rich and have a taxation issue.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs