300 Companies Promise to Help Long-Term Jobless Apple, Walmart, others will reassess hiring practices By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jan 31, 2014 11:34 AM CST 77 comments Comments In this April 4, 2013, file photo, people line up for entry to a job fair in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot) (Newser) – President Obama says he has secured a pledge from more than 300 companies to rethink their hiring practices with the goal of helping the long-term unemployed. The president is meeting with top business leaders today at the White House, but he offered some details to CNN about the initiative last night. "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," said Obama. Specifically, the White House wants to make sure companies don't write off job applicants simply because they have been out of work for a long time. "Do not screen people out of the hiring process," said Obama. The White House started reaching out to corporate leaders in May, reports the Washington Post, and National Economic Council chief Gene Sperling called the response "inspiring." Obama also plans to announce a $150 million grant project through the Labor Department designed to help the long-term unemployed land jobs.