Share Your Observations on How the Public Workforce System is Addressing the Negative Cycle of Long-Term Unemployment

Posted by Kevin Thompson - On March 19, 2014 (EST)

 In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama called attention to a stubborn legacy of the Great Recession  - a historically high number of Americans who are ready and eager to work, but have found themselves numbered among the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Although many of these Americans could help employers fill their hiring needs if given the chance, they often face particular barriers in getting back to work.   The recent research  released by the White House --  Addressing the Negative Cycle of Long-Term Unemployment -- underscores that the long-term unemployed are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities. One study found that candidates who had been out of work eight months were called back for interviews only about half as often as candidates who had been out of work one month, even with an otherwise identical r?sum?.


The President has undertaken steps in partnership with businesses, non-profits, mayors, and governors and anyone else ready to address this challenge.  CEOs of leading companies have recently announced that they were signing onto new best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed, designed to ensure the long-term unemployed receive a fair shot in the hiring and recruiting process. These best practices include:

  • 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.  

The committed professional staff in our 2,500 American Job Centers has been steady anchors throughout the Great Recession, providing support and services to tens of thousands of discouraged job seekers.  As the recovery proceeds, our public workforce staff firmly stationed on the front-line of assistance -- strategically positioned (and thoroughly dedicated) to help the long-term unemployed realize their hopes to successfully reenter the labor market.

 The Reemployment Works “Community of Practice” now encourages our webpage visitors to weigh in with your views on these issues to further measure the success of our local, State, and Federal reemployment efforts:


(1)   Many of the national employers signing the original pledge have locations in your own community.  From your business service representatives and other Center staff with knowledge of these employers, are there indications that recent trends in hiring by these businesses is not neglecting the long-term unemployed?

(2)   The President has asked other firms, large and small, to sign the pledge.  Have you heard first-hand from local employers that they have undertaken this positive step to examine their hiring practices that might disqualify the long-term unemployed?

(3)   Have you been asked by these employers – and other employers – to consult on potential mechanisms and practices for the Center referrals of the long-term unemployed?

(4)   Has your Center undertaken any special targeted effort(s) to assist the long-term unemployed?  If so, you are encouraged to provide a brief synopsis of these interventions and initiatives that can be shared with the Community?

(5)   Can you identify and illustrate some “success stories” where the potent combination of Center professional assistance and customer perseverance has helped move the individual from the ranks of the long-term unemployed? 

Your consideration and thoughtful response to one or more of these questions will help the Department and Administration gauge the progress  in meeting the challenge of returning our customers and clients, our acquaintances and friends, our families and neighbors --  our fellow Americans --  to meaningful jobs in our local economies.  You are encouraged to add your comments to this blog post.  Thanks!


User Comments (5)
On July 09, 2014  Larry Robbin said:
I am very glad to see President Obama working to get companies to hire the long term unemployed. This is a good initiative, but it reminds me of a similar initiative but it reminds me of a similar one that was done at the beginning of the TANF legislation where hundreds of employers pledged to hire welfare recipients. Several years later it turned out that less than 10% of the companies on the list had actually followed through on their pledge. I've seen similar outcomes with other initiatives around hiring of a specific population. I suggest that companies that sign on be held accountable through some kind of monitoring and public score card to make sure this isn't false promises.

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Modified On : March 19, 2014
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