Long-term jobless programs get $170 million in Obama administration grants

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is announcing $170 million in grants divided among 23 work projects across the country that aim to reduce the number of long-term unemployed Americans.

Administration officials say the number of workers who are jobless for more than 26 weeks has declined, but remains at historic highs and is a lingering blemish in the economic recovery. The concern is that the longer someone is out of a job, the harder it gets to find a new one.

Labour Secretary Tom Perez and National Economic Council director Jeff Zients announced the grant awards late Tuesday. The two officials will hold a meeting with top corporate CEOS on Wednesday at the White House to discuss their efforts to meet commitments earlier this year to hire more long-term unemployed workers.