|By Dan Robinson|
|Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.|
January 31, 2014
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,
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.
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
"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
"Each week that
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