Obama asks CEOs for help

President hopes companies will reach out to the long-term jobless
Associated Press
Jan 31, 2014

Confronting an economic recovery slowed by persistent joblessness, President Barack Obama on Friday won commitments from almost 300 companies to reach out to the almost 4 million Americans who have been jobless for half a year or more.

"It's a cruel Catch-22," Obama said at a White House event with CEOs, job training groups and and advocates for the unemployed. "The longer you're unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem."

Obama called that "an illusion" because, he said, such workers are often better qualified and better educated than workers who just recently lost their jobs.

Obama also signed a presidential memo directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices.

The event and the memo illustrate the types of targeted, non-legislative measures Obama promised to undertake to expand economic opportunity during his State of the Union address earlier this week. Obama has declared 2014 a year of action for his administration, but his chances of winning legislative victories are slim in in an election year and with a divided Congress.

He renewed his call for Congress to reinstate jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, noting that it is a way to keep workers financially afloat while they pursue jobs. The benefits ran out at the end of December. Lawmakers have been debating how to pay for the cost of the benefit and for how long to make it apply.

Among the CEOs at the White House Friday were top executives from eBay, Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Marriott International and McDonalds.

Although the overall national unemployment rate has declined to 6.7 percent, long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem. The concern is that the longer someone is out of a job, the harder it gets to find a new one. Companies are less likely to hire people who haven't used their skills in months or wonder why another employer hasn't already snatched them up.

"Just because you've been out -- been out of work for a while does not mean that you are not a hard worker," Obama said. "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."

With that concern in mind, the Obama administration has been working for months to exact commitments from companies to ensure their hiring practices don't discriminate against long-term job-seekers.

That includes doing away with candidate-screening methods that disqualify applicants based on their current employment status. It also means ensuring that job ads don't discourage unemployed workers from applying.

The White House couldn't say how many unemployed Americans might benefit from the initiative but expected the effects to snowball.

"We consider this not the destination, but the launch," said Gene Sperling, who heads the White House's National Economic Council. "Our hope is that as people see the meeting with the president, the pledge, that more will come work with us."

Among the companies taking part: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. Sperling said he emailed the conservative business mogul about the initiative, and Murdoch personally wrote back to say he supported it.

The Obama administration will direct $150 million in grants toward partnership programs that retrain, mentor and place unemployed workers.

Comments

coasterfan

Yep. To be a Republican is to say "I want CEOs to own 8 yachts, instead of 7, and 5 summer homes, instead of 4. I want our money redistributed to billionaires, so that the rest of us can work 40 hours a week, and still not have enough to send our kids to college, buy a home, and prepare for our own retirement. If we don't take care of our billionaires, who will? They need tax breaks, I tell you!"

The best line I heard lately: There are only 2 good reasons to vote Republican: either you're rich and heartless, or poor and brainless.

That joke would be a lot funnier, if it weren't true...

The Big Dog's back

ROFLMAO! So true.

Donegan

To be a democrat means you scream about income equality out of one side of your mouth while supporting a admin who's policies have created the greatest income inequality in the last 80 years.
Look another 85 billion just went to wall street but lets ignore that because the president is democrat.

Contango

Re: "the president is democrat."

Also remember that he grew up 'oppressed.'

He was forced to attend a college prep school in Hawaii and then eventually went on to Harvard, probably as a foreign exchange student on the taxpayers' dime.

Contango

Re: As the article stated, nearly 200 CEOs have stepped up to the plate."

Continue to pay close attention to the meaningless political Kabuki theater in DC.

"Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow."

- Æsop

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'll carve an exception for myself as an "abover" as what these CEOs did seems rather disingenuous when the "weath they want to spread" comes from government grants, i.e., YOUR "wealth" our government confiscated from you and the President is spreading to THEM (I feel dirty uttering this tired trope...the "1%") to either do something they were going to do anyway or to artificially employ a small number of people for a very high price tag...

...that will be fired as soon as those grants go away.

As for remaining silent on Macy's? I didn't hear about it and also, so what? Who are you to determine if a company is allowed to make a profit, and if you give them permission, how much it should be? You have no idea what they will put that money towards. Charity? Capital improvements? Taxes paid on profitable income? Expansion of locations or lines? Investment into other companies? Seeking entrepreneurial manufacturers to carry their lines as unique? Additional hiring/wages/benefits? Or maybe they'll wisely sit on it and grow it because of how absolutely unstable Congress is making everyone pucker up because who knows what the rules will be a month from now?

As for the laying off, did they lay off seasonal employees? You know, people who knew it was only going to be for a few months? If not, is a company obligated to retain every single person they hire for one busy part of the year when in other parts they are losing money? That's what I'm picking up from you. You need to write Cedar Point and DEMAND they remain fully-staffed all year long because otherwise it is unfair. Is the choice: everyone is employed or nobody is employed? Because if Macy's had to close stores that would put more people the same roster you mention.

So please, applaud our President's disbursement of millions of dollars to people who don't need it to do something that at best that is temporary and will hardly generate the tax revenue or "savings" from reducing dependency on safety net programs that was put in to make these jobs.

But I guess all his jobs and hiring responsibilities from his decades of time and service spent in private business have given him the guidance and wisdom to know how to make meaningful business decisions, yes? I bet he has personally hired and fired thousands of people for the private firms he ran, wasn't he the VP of Human Resources for some place? Or did he work in the Accounting department somewhere as a CFO? I forget just where he has garnered all this business education and acumen he dispenses with [our] "grant" money.

Sarcasm aside he is a sheep among wolves in that room of CEOs and the fact that he and you buy the smiles and "stepping up" corporatists is upsetting. I bet 0% of them personally or through their companies donated to his presidency, his party, "need" that grant money, or are reflected in his retirement accounts. The only thing that could be more sterile in that meeting is a eunuch brain surgeon preparing to operate, eh?

Come on coasterfan, I appreciate your optimism but a dose of reality needs to be injected here. My laments, sarcasm, and cautions here and above were shared because I actually care about both where/how our tax money is spent and because I want to see people actually be successful with their lives and not jerked around by false promises, vaporfunds, and fleeting charisma.

Darwin's choice

Still want to critic my comments about the two bj buddies here, hero?

All the posts these two have commented on today are full of B.S.,lies, and blatant stupidity, to justify their unwavering love for all things obama. And, to cause other readers to comment. Paid trolls, who love the thought of being the next in line to bump their heads under obama's desk.

If obama is the answer, just how stupid was the question?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I don't critique your general sentiment about them, just that I wish you would publicly do it in a way that doesn't call them "bj buddies" with all the other innuendo. Ultimately it is your moniker and account to do with as you please within moderation guidelines, but I said what I said to be fair since when Big Dog calls people ridiculous names it sets his points back, too. I'll even throw myself under the review bus and say that I think I let my sarcasm out too much.

Personally I'd have less of a "problem" with them if it wasn't for the insistent superiority of the Democrat master race and dictatorial tendencies to a one-party system. I'm hardly retaining my maidenhead for the Republicans, but sheesh, I see far less flag-waving/talking-point regurgitation under the overt R banner than D.

coasterfan

Misprint above. The Macy's CEO is laying off 2500 people, not 250. This is how a typical Republican "job creator" celebrates a highly profitable holiday season.

Contango

Re: "highly profitable holiday season,"

Sales were down for many retailers.

Watch Bloomberg instead of the Comedy Channel.

The Big Dog's back

Not for Macy's mr. deflector.

Contango

Re: "Not for Macy's"

So they should keep unprofitable stores open dog breath?

Besides, they're hiring for positions in on-line sales.

huronguy

Coaster fan are you illiterate? "200 ceo's agreed to share the wealth". They better share it because the 150 million dollars they're receiving is our the taxpayers money. Obama is giving them our money and allowing them to redistribute it, these ceo's or Obama ain't doing nothing for no one. Obama doesn't know what to do except point the finger and blame it on someone else. After all these years you haven't realized he doesn't know how to solve problems just create them. Bad sign when your own ppl are turning on you.

The Big Dog's back

If you righties would have "turned" and questioned bush, we wouldn't be where we were at in 2009 when he left office.

sand-town-refugee

THANK you Big Dog!

Donegan

If you leftys would have questioned Clinton when he pushed housing and sub prime loans we would not have reached the point in 2009 either. You must have loved Bush as all of his policies remain.

There you go again

But wait, Mr. Anger Management Dude, Obama knew perfectly well what he was stepping in to when he campaigned for president and spewed BS. It was Obama who said he would fix everything. It was Obama who promised to fix the economy..... Instead we Americans got "Blame Bush, Blame Bush!"

sand-town-refugee

1. The jobless rate has dropped and more people are going back to work than are loosing their jobs. 2. The "Affordable Care Act" has nothing to do with costing businesses so much more that they can't hire new workers. They can keep profits by dropping people's hours to less than 30 so they won't have to pay for health care. I know my employer did this to me! 3. Businesses have learned they can do the same jobs with less employee's and make more profits than before. 4. Businesses can make as much if not more profit by not hiring new employee's so they why should they.
I also believe that politicians should give up any raises they are due to get for he next few years. My husband hasn't had one in 5 years and he is a government worker, but everything else he's pays out of pocket has gone up.
I get the hire someone that's been out of work longer than someone that's been out of work for a shorter time. Chances are they lost their job during the recession when people were loosing jobs hand over fist. Those people are also probably on as much assistance as they can get which is costing the government money.
At least Obama is trying, he's asking businesses to help out, take a step toward bringing more jobs to people, then people with jobs can spend money. The vicious circle would not be so bad. Jobs=income. Income=spending. Spending= business earning increases. Earnings=more jobs. Kind of makes sense to me.

mikesee

Sand- you are ignorant to the facts. Start your business and you will find out for yourself how odummer has/is strangling small business.

Always easy for you non-business owners to spout off about this subject.

Darwin's choice

Union supported aren't you?

Don't answer......we know.

Dr. Information

Obuma just gets more comical as the days pass along. Mr. anti big business now wants CEO's to hire people for political gain and votes. Is this really a dream or is this really happening.

Dr. Information

Funny how for years the Dems fought and fought hard against the Keystone Pipeline. Now they say "Its time to build". Republicans knew all along that it was safe, was going to have no environmental impact and would secure our country and our energy. Why the change of heart now Dems? Please explain.

thinkagain

Let’s face it, Obama ain’t no Reagan! Obama's failed stimulus that for each job paying $40k created by the Government, cost the taxpayers about $300k. Now Obama is begging CEO’s to help him with his failed policies at the tune of 150 million for starters.

Increased regulation, excessive taxation, a ballooning government debt and an increase of those dependent on government handouts is his only legacy.

Steve P

So he is asking the evil top 1% for help?

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