By Daniel DeMarco |Assistant Features Editor|
President Barack Obama announced a pledge list signed by more than 300 companies to agree to no longer discriminate against potential applicants who have been long-term unemployed.
“Twenty-one of the nation’s 50 largest companies and 47 of the top 200” were among the companies involved in this agreement, according to The New York Times.
Notable names include: Apple, Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, McDonald’s, eBay, Ford Motor Company, and Pepsi.
Long-term unemployment is defined as a time of unemployment that has lasted six months or longer.
Obama is attempting to put to rest the prejudice displayed by some companies against long-term unemployed Americans.
Obama signed a presidential memorandum that requires the entire federal government to follow the same hiring practices.
Almost four million Americans fit in the category of long-term unemployment, according to The New York Times.
“It’s a cruel Catch-22, the longer you’re unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem,” said Obama.
Studies have shown that applicants who have been unemployed for six months or longer receive significantly less attention and interest even when their resumes are just as credible as other applicants who are not long-term unemployed.
“One recent study showed those who had been unemployed for eight months had a 45 percent lower interview callback rate than those out of work for one month,” according to The Washington Post.
The Washington Post also reported, “A separate survey reported those unemployed for seven months need to send an average of 35 resumes to online job postings to receive just one interview, compared to just 10 resumes per interview for those unemployed for only one month.”
Obama said in his State of the Union address that he would use all the tools available to achieve his goals for helping the country, notably the continuing unemployment issue.
This move by Obama is part of his new efforts to employ more of his presidential powers to bypass the current Congress which is officially the least productive congress in American history.
According to White House officials, they had begun reaching out to companies this past May and have been securing the commitments for the last three or four months.
Extended unemployment benefits recently expired in December for 1.3 million Americans when a bill to extend the benefits further was stopped once it reached Congress.
The pledge which the companies signed states that the companies will not intentionally or inadvertently disadvantage individuals from being considered for a job based solely on their unemployment status.
“It’s important for companies to be as fair as possible, and if one person is just as qualified as another person then it shouldn’t matter who has been unemployed longer,” said student Michael Felix.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Obama will announce a, “$150 million grant program for nonprofit organizations working to connect the long-term unemployed with companies and develop interviewing, networking and other skills that could put them back in the workforce.”