Obama Meets With Top CEOs to Encourage Hiring

Walmart, Apple and Ford executives promise to help long-term unemployed. 

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Jan. 28, 2014.

Top executives from 300 companies signed a pledge to help the long-term unemployed at the White House Friday.

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President Barack Obama is touting a Friday White House meeting with top executives from 300 companies, including Walmart, Apple and Ford, as an example of how he's trying to spur job growth without the help of Congress. Obama told the country in Tuesday's State of the Union he would do everything in his power to act despite congressional intransigence on a swath of issues, including improving the economy.

"We actually already have a lot of resources for job training," he said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday night. "The problem is, it's not well coordinated and oftentimes it's not funneled to those programs that are allowing companies to maybe colleges, let's say, design the training so that somebody who goes through it knows they're going to get a job at the other end of it."

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The companies gathering Friday have signed a pledge to specifically help the long-term unemployed, a large group in today's job pool thanks to the stagnant economy in the five or so years since the recession.

"It's saying that those who are long-term unemployed should get a fair shot," Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, told Reuters. "We are trying to address what we feel is the heart of that negative cycle, which is the potential stigmatization of people merely for the sake that they are long-term unemployed."

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The unemployment rate is currently 6.7 percent.

"We just went through the worst recession since the Great Depression and so I'll be convening a meeting where a number of these top companies will be coming in, agreeing to these best practices," Obama told CNN. "And we'll have an opportunity to, uh, you know, encourage more people to come in. All those things cumulatively are going to have an impact."

Obama also called on Congress to increase the minimum wage to help low-income workers and signed an executive order raising the rate for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

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