Apple joins list of US companies pledging to end hiring discrimination against long-term unemployed

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Apple is among some of the largest companies in America who have agreed to a new program from President Barack Obama pledging to avoid discrimination against job candidates who have been out of the workforce for an extended period.

About 300 businesses have agreed to support the program, the White House says. Major corporations joining Apple in supporting the president's initiative include Walmart, Ford and General Motors, according to The New York Times.

In all, 21 of America's 50 largest companies, and 47 of the top 200 are said to support the push for overhauled hiring practices. Obama has cited long-term unemployed citizens as one of the largest issues currently facing the U.S. jobs market.

Chief executives from a number of companies that have agreed to help Obama's efforts will appear with the president on Friday. Not listed among those expected to appear is Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Employers have promised that they will not automatically rule out potential job candidates simply because the person has been out of work for an extended period of time. The federal government will also agree to the pledge for its own hiring policies through an executive order to be signed by the president.