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White House Wants to Give Unemployed ‘Fair Shot’ at Finding Jobs

Even though the economy is slowly recovering from the recession, long-term unemployment remains a problem for many Americans. But the White House has a plan to fix this.

Even though the economy is slowly recovering from the recession, long-term unemployment remains a problem for many Americans. But the White House has a plan to fix this.

(Photo Credit: Shubert Ciencia/Flickr)

This week, the Obama administration announced a new initiative to help those who have been unemployed for 26 or more weeks find a job. These unemployed Americans make up 32 percent of those who are unemployed — double the rate recorded before the recession began late in 2007. Those who are unemployed for this long find it extremely challenging to find work again due to patchy work histories, gaps in resumes, and often poor credit scores, which can be used against candidates during job screening.

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In fact, these credit checks were “not good HR policy,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in an article in The Wall Street Journal. “They were leaving good employees on the table.”

To kick off this new campaign, the White House is teaming up with Deloitte Consulting Services to prepare a handbook to guide select employers on how to hire candidates who have been unemployed for longer than 26 weeks. This handbook will suggest things such as face-to-face or video interviews to screen candidates, rather than just considering emailed resumes or even LinkedIn profiles. It will also encourage downplaying or skipping those often dismal credit scores.

Some of the companies that Obama’s administration will be working with in the beginning include Citigroup, CVS, and Boeing.

“The long-term unemployed have comparable work experiences and skills” to other applicants, says Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council. “And research shows they perform just as well once they’re hired.”

As the White House only began meeting with companies this week, it is likely we won’t see any policies actually in place for quite some time. Getting the conversation started — especially at the HR level at large companies — is a great first step to reducing the numbers of long-term unemployed in the U.S., and getting people who have been unfortunately (and often unfairly) out of work for too long back into jobs and careers they love.

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