Apple, Ford, Walmart, and 297 other companies are expected to join President Barack Obama's pledge not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed. In a video interview posted by CNN, President Obama said that representatives from many of these companies will attend a meeting at the White House on Friday where they work out best practice guidelines to keep companies from not hiring someone simply because they have been out of a job for months or years.
"Because they've been unemployed [...] so long, folks are looking at that gap in the resume and they're weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview," President Obama said in the interview.
"What we have done is to gather together 300 companies, just to start with, including, some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Walmart, and Apple, Ford and others, to say let's establish best practices," he said.
The meeting and the pledge are part of the commitment the president made during Tuesday's State of the Union address to use the power of the executive branch to reduce income inequality in the U.S.
If the best practices developed at the meeting, and if the pledge by these companies to hold to those practices—two big ifs—results in more of the long-term unemployed being able to rejoin the work force, it could result in lifting them higher on the income bell curve.
Apple, as one of the largest companies on the planet, brings cache to the pledge, but Ford and Walmart—the only other two companies pre-named by the president—both employee orders of magnitude more people than Apple. All three companies will be important participants if the pledge is to have any effect.