Call to Action to Give Long-Term Unemployed a Shot


On Friday morning, the President will convene a meeting with the Vice President and CEOs of some of the nation’s largest public and private businesses to continue the Administration’s efforts to give the long-term unemployed a fair shot at getting back to work. In his State of the Union address, the President announced that he is asking every business leader in America to help the long-term unemployed get back into jobs – another example of how he is using his pen and his phone to take action on behalf of the American people.

Research shows long-term unemployed job applicants are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities—even when they may have identical resumes and skills to other candidates. To combat this and expand opportunity for all Americans, the Administration has partnered with the nation’s leading companies to develop best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed, recognizing that businesses succeed when their communities thrive and our economy grows when our businesses take advantage of the talent, skills and experience of all Americans. As a result of these ongoing efforts, more than 300 companies – including over 80 of the nation’s largest businesses – have signed on, along with small and medium-sized businesses. Over the coming months, the President will encourage other business leaders to adopt these practices.

After the President’s meeting with CEOs, he will deliver remarks in the East Room to highlight the group’s efforts and promising models to connect long-term unemployed to work. The President will announce a $150 million grant competition through the Department of Labor to support innovative public-private partnerships geared toward helping prepare and place the long-term unemployed in open positions. Following his remarks, the President will lead by example and use his executive authority to issue a Presidential Memorandum to ensure the federal government also adopts these best practices, to ensure individuals who are unemployed or have faced financial difficulties due to no fault of their own receive fair treatment and consideration for employment.

Attached is a copy of these best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed, along with the list of some of the more than 300 companies – including 20 of the 50 largest companies in the nation – that have signed on and a fact sheet on the President’s call to give the long-term unemployed a fair shot.

Further Detail on Executive Actions the President Is Taking

to Give the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot

After the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, our economy has made significant progress, as businesses have added 8.2 million jobs over the past 46 months. But a remaining legacy of the recession is the crisis of long-term unemployment. Too many Americans who found themselves out of a job through no fault of their own have struggled to return to work. At a time when we as a nation should be helping those who are long-term unemployed find new jobs, we should never have taken an abrupt step backwards by cutting off their unemployment insurance, which has already hurt 1.6 million Americans since the end of last year and is estimated to hurt 4.9 million workers by the end of 2014. The President urges members of both parties to come together right now to extend emergency unemployment insurance. And, the President will continue to work with Congress as well as to take executive action to address the challenge of the long-term unemployed.

Ø Partnering With Leading Companies to Give the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot. Research shows that the long-term unemployed are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities – even when they may have identical or superior resumes to other candidates.

· Long-Term Unemployed Are Frequently Overlooked in Recruiting and Hiring Practices. One recent study showed that the interview “callback” rate for otherwise identical resumes falls sharply as the length of unemployment rises, with callbacks 45 percent lower for those unemployed for eight months compared to those unemployed for just one month. Another study found that 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.

· New Best Practices for Hiring and Recruiting the Long-Term Unemployed. As part of an ongoing effort that began several months ago, the Administration has engaged with America’s leading businesses to develop best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed to ensure that these candidates receive a fair shot during the hiring process.

· Ensuring advertising does not discourage or discriminate against the unemployed

· Reviewing screening and other recruiting procedures so that they do not intentionally or inadvertently disadvantage individuals based solely on their unemployment status

· Using recruitment practices that cast a broad net and encourage all qualified candidates to apply

· Sharing best practices for success in hiring the long-term unemployed within their companies and across their supply chains and the greater business community

· Over 300 Hundred Companies Have Signed On. More than 80 of the nation’s largest businesses have signed on, including 20 members of the Fortune 50 and over 45 members of the Fortune 200, as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. In the coming months, the President will encourage other business leaders to adopt these practices.

· Additional Support for Human Resource Professionals in Implementing Best Practices. The Society for Human Resource Management, which helped develop these best practices, has developed additional guides for human resource professionals and long-term unemployed job-seekers and will be an ongoing resource to provide technical support for companies seeking to implement these practices.

Ø Presidential Memorandum to Make Sure the Federal Government Does the Same. The President will also lead by example and use his executive authority to issue a Presidential Memorandum to ensure the long-term unemployed receive a fair shot in the Federal hiring process. The Memorandum directs federal agencies to review their recruiting and hiring practices to determine whether these practices put long-term unemployed individuals at an undue disadvantage and report the results to the Office of Personnel Management. This process will help to make sure the unemployed or individuals who have faced financial difficulties (a common side-effect of long-term unemployment) are fairly considered for jobs.

Ø $150 Million for “Ready to Work” Partnerships to Support Innovative Public-Private Efforts to Help the Long-Term Unemployed Get a Fair Shot. Today, the President and Department of Labor are announcing $150 million in existing resources from the H-1B fund to support high performing partnerships between employers, non-profit organizations and America’s public workforce system that will help provide long-term unemployed individuals with the range of services, training, and access they need to fill middle and high-skill jobs. A solicitation for applications for these “ready to work” partnerships be available in February and awards will be made in mid-2014. In particular, these grants will reward partnerships with the following key features:

· Focus on Reemploying Long-Term Unemployed Workers. Programs will have to recruit long-term unemployed workers and employ strategies that are effective in getting them back to work in middle to high-skill occupations. These strategies could include assessments, job placement assistance, training, mentoring and supportive services such as financial counseling and behavioral health counseling.

· Work-based Training That Enables Earning While Learning Through Models Such as On-the-Job Training (OJT), Paid Work Experience, Paid Internships and Registered Apprenticeships. Incorporating work-based training into these projects will afford employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs.

· Employer Engagement and Support in Program Design – Including Programs That Commit to Consider Hiring Qualified Participants. Training programs funded by these grants must address the skills and competencies demanded by employers and high-growth industries, and ultimately lead to the employment of qualified participants. Preference will be given to applicants with employer partners that make a commitment to consider candidates who participate in these programs.

Continuing to Work With Congress on the President’s Existing Proposals

to Get the Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

Ø Continuing to Work With Congress to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance for Americans Looking for Work. At a time when we as a nation should be helping those who are long-term unemployed find new jobs, we should never have taken a step backwards by abruptly cutting off their unemployment insurance, which has already hurt 1.6 million Americans since the end of last year and is estimated to hurt 4.9 million workers by the end of 2014. The President urges members of both parties to come together right now to at a minimum pass the bipartisan three-month extension under consideration in the Senate. By temporarily extending emergency unemployment insurance for three months, this bipartisan bill will provide benefits for over 2 million Americans when they need it most, and the President remains ready to work with Congress to get this done right away.

Ø Working to Put in Place Job-Driven Training Programs that Connect the Long-Term Unemployed to Work. In addition to his broader efforts to support job growth through investment in areas like infrastructure and manufacturing, the President has called for new, targeted efforts to train the long-term unemployed and connect them to jobs. In the American Jobs Act, for example, and in his subsequent budgets, the President has proposed new, temporary programs that would offer reemployment and training for the long-term unemployed and low-skilled workers. The President’s budget also proposed consolidating and improving the two programs that serve displaced workers in order to double the number of workers that are able to receive training after losing a job through no fault of their own.

New Private Commitments to Expand Models that
Help the Long-Term Unemployed Get Back to Work

Ø LinkedIn. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has committed to support select grantees and states from the Administration’s new $150 million fund for Ready to Work Partnerships to help them identify, connect and support the long-term unemployed in their region.

Ø Skills for America’s Future. Skills for America’s Future, an industry-led initiative launched in partnership with the White House in 2009, is announcing its intention to offer technical support to applicants for the new grants being announced today by the Department of Labor, including the provision of on-line informational resources and briefings. SAF will seek to offer prospective applicants with strategies and approaches reflecting best practices in demand-driven employment strategies that meet employer needs and ensure labor market success for job seekers and the long-term unemployed. SAF and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, the first regional adaptation of SAF’s demand-driven workforce development principles, is announcing efforts to support the expansion of SCF’s promising model program. SAF has provided Skills for Chicagoland’s Future with a grant to launch a new web portal to support the needs of employers and organizations interested in learning more about demand-driven intermediary work or in replicating the SCF model. SAF also announced a grant to the Indianapolis-based Workforce Investment Board, “Indy,” in support of the adoption of demand driven workforce development practices targeting the long-term unemployed. Finally, SAF is announcing its plans to undertake research agenda designed to identify and promulgate a set of best practices for how to effectively engage employers in demand-driven training and employment programs.

Ø National Fund for Workforce Solutions. With support from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and matching funds from a dozen national philanthropies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) will be awarding $2.5 million in grants this month to 21 rural and urban regions across the U.S. Local communities will match this grant on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis, creating an investment pool of more than $5 million. These resources will be invested in addressing the occupational needs of small/middle-market companies and institutions in key regional industries. Funding will be targeted to upgrade the skills of the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged populations. Training priorities will be established based on the competency requirements as defined by the hundreds of employers participating in the National Fund’s sectoral industry partnerships.

Ø Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will lead a groundbreaking expansion of their work including a unique partnership with the Chicago Department of Aviation and announcement of a new two-year $600,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase’s landmark New Skills at Work program which will increase the number of unemployed served in 2014 by 20%. SCF will expand their practice of obtaining annual signed commitments from a multitude of employers to hire the unemployed through SCF. SCF will also launch a new web portal for organizations that have an interest in replicating a demand driven model or companies seeking information on opportunities to address long term unemployment. SCF’s innovative model and approach led to the job placement of nearly 600 unemployed in 2013 with 75% being long term unemployed.

Ø Per Scholas. Per Scholas is announcing that as of February 3, 2014, it will open a fourth location. Located in downtown Silver Spring, MD, this free IT-Ready job training will serve 80 dislocated workers in its inaugural year, ultimately training over 1,000 area residents by 2020. IT-Ready graduates will be equipped with the IT job skills needed by community employers, which were consulted in preparation for opening. This program will be supported the Creating IT Futures Foundation, Per Scholas’ national expansion partner, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, who helped find and furnish the new site, and will be a primary referral partner ensuring that residents from the region receive the support services needed most.

Ø Goodwill Industries. Goodwill Industries International is announcing its partnership with Accenture to launch GoodProspects® for Credentials to Careers in order to help more Americans, including the long-term unemployed, gain the skills needed for college and career success. The program, which is funded by a $1.5 million grant as part of Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative, will help 40 Goodwill® agencies from across the country connect with more than 15,000 people, starting with 10 competitively selected Goodwill agencies that have existing partnerships with community colleges and area businesses. GoodProspects for Credentials to Careers will engage in local credentialing partnerships, conduct regional education and industry summits to develop and strengthen the talent pipeline, and offer Accenture employees and others the opportunity to provide program participants with mentoring and skill-building support. Goodwill will also leverage local training and educational opportunities through community colleges to help address the skills gap in businesses across the country. Finally, GoodProspects for Credentials to Careers will offer career-readiness services such as resume refinement, job-search assistance, soft-skills workshops and access to technology as well as other wrap-around services such as financial coaching, credentialing opportunities, employer referrals, and childcare and mental health services.

Ø JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently announced its New Skills at Work initiative, a five-year workforce readiness and demand-driven training initiative. Working closely with local businesses, elected officials, academics and community leaders, JPMorgan Chase will use new data and industry intelligence to direct grants and forge partnerships to help close the skills gap. To achieve this goal, communities need reliable local level data to tell them exactly which skills are needed in which sectors, in order to drive strategic local workforce planning. The data that supports the workforce system today is inadequate; New Skills at Work will address that challenge by developing new data and research to create regional gap reports that analyze the specific skills needs of each community. New Skills will begin its work in nine cities — Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As part of a commitment to help the long-term unemployed, JPMorgan Chase is announcing today that the gap reports will include an analysis of the challenges that the long-term unemployed face and a picture of the job opportunities available to those who develop specialized skills through focused and effective training. With this data in hand, the public, private and non-profit sectors, including Ready to Work grantees, can join together to give aspiring workers the training they need to meet employer demand in their community.

Ø AARP Foundation. AARP Foundation is announcing the expansion of its BACK TO WORK 50+ initiative through a new collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and with generous support from the Walmart Foundation. This program movies low-income, unemployed men and women age 50+ from instability to stability by increasing their income through employment in good jobs in their communities. Originally launched as a demonstration project in Denver, CO in 2013, BACK TO WORK 50+ is designed create local coordination of employment services, public benefits application assistance, financial capability and employer engagement to connect 50+ job candidates to specific in-demand jobs in their communities. Over the next two years, AARP Foundation will invest over $2 million to expand the program and reach thousands more older workers who need these important services. As part of the BACK TO WORK 50+ expansion the first 11 community colleges that will become part of the network have been selected and an additional four colleges will be added later in 2014.

Ø Platform 2 Employment. With support from the AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation P2E is replicating its targeted job readiness programming in Orlando, Florida. This is the last location of P2E’s 10 cities expansion that included Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, San Diego and San Francisco. Tested across multiple cohorts including participants from all socio economic and ethnic backgrounds, P2E has placed 203 people into work experience opportunities, with 88% or 179 of these individuals moving on to unsubsidized full-time employment.

Ø PG&E. In 2014, PG&E will build upon its successful workforce development program, PowerPathway™, by conducting two PowerPathway™ workforce development programs for the long-term unemployed, with a focus on long-term unemployed veterans. Together, these two programs, targeting the greater Fresno area, will provide 48 individuals with resume building and interview skills, technical training, education and other transferrable skills that can be used to help obtain a job in the skilled craft and utility industry. These program will be conducted in partnership with local workforce investment board, community-based and business organizations, and community colleges in the Fresno area, which continues to experience unemployment rates above the state and national average. The energy and transportation industry represents about 10 percent of all employment opportunities in the Fresno region, with many of these jobs requiring specialized skills and education. PG&E’s PowerPathway™ program provides the education and skills training necessary to support individuals seeking not just jobs, but careers in these sectors. PG&E will provide a template to scale and replicate the PowerPathway™ workforce development program targeting the long-term unemployed through state and federal utility organizations, including the California Energy and Utility Workforce Consortia and the Center for Energy Workforce Development.


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