President Obama Tells CNN Apple, WalMart Have Agreed to Boost Hiring

President tells Jake Tapper that 300 companies have agreed to try to hire long-term unemployed

President Obama told CNN he is working with 300 companies, including Apple, WalMart and Ford, to boost hiring of the long-term unemployed.

Obama spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview, days after his State of the Union Address. The president, who is trying to go around a Congress that has rejected his recent economic proposals, told Tapper he has gone straight to the companies doing the hiring.

“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,” President Barack Obama told Tapper.

“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,” said Obama.

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Though the economy is improving in other ways, the number of workers who have not found a job for at least six months has increased.

Obama will make the formal announcement Friday, when the interview will air on CNN. The president acknowledged that he is trying to make changes without Congress, because lawmakers haven’t been eager to help him.

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“In no way are my expectations diminished, or my ambitions diminished. But what is obviously true, is we’ve got divided government right now,” he said. “The House Republicans, in particular, have had difficulty rallying around any agenda, much less mine. And in that kind of environment, what I don’t want is the American people to think that the only way for us to make big change is through legislation.”