The heavily publicized meeting between President Obama and several hundred corporate CEOs and other business leaders will do little or nothing to alleviate long-term unemployment. Those out of work for six months or more, the nominal beneficiaries of the effort, are only slightly more likely to get a job thanks to the Obama administration than they are to be struck by lightning.
The token character of the effort promoted by Obama in his State of the Union address and then at the White House meeting Friday is demonstrated by the disparity between the vast social need and the miniscule resources pledged by Obama and Corporate America.
There are some 4 million workers who have been out of work for six months or longer, according to official statistics, which do not count millions more who have dropped out of the workforce entirely for lack of any real prospect of getting a decent-paying job.
According to the Fact Sheet distributed by the White House in conjunction with Friday's summit meeting with CEOs, the initiatives backed by Obama include the following:
* The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, to award $2.5 million in grants, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by local communities, for a total of $5 million, or $1.25 for each long-term unemployed worker.
* Skills for Chicagoland's Future, a local venture devised by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and JPMorgan Chase, with a $600,000 grant from the megabank (approximately 15 minutes worth of profits), aiming to provide job placement services for an additional 120 workers in 2014.
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