Apple, Ford and Walmart will Friday lead 300 US companies ready to sign up to President Barack Obama’s pledge not to discriminate against long-term unemployed job seekers. Obama said he will meet representatives of the firms at the White House on Friday to agree on a series of best practices designed to halt discrimination against those who have been out of work for months or even years in the wake of the financial crisis. “We know that one of the biggest problems right now in the jobs market is the long-term unemployed,” Obama told CNN. “Folks are looking at that gap in the resume and they are weeding them out before these folks even get a chance at an interview.” He said that among the companies committing to the pledge were the top 50 in the country. The initiative is part of Obama’s pledge made in his State of the Union address this week to take executive actions to ease the disparity gap between the rich and poor in America. The president gave the interview in Wisconsin, the third stop in a four-state swing designed to promote aspects of the program he unveiled in the showpiece address on Tuesday night. Earlier, Obama signed an executive memorandum directing Vice President Joe Biden to carry out a review of US job training programs. “I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree,” Obama told workers at a GE facility that makes gas engines. “Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree -- I love art history. So I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. “I’m just saying you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need.” Obama was later due to wind up his tour in Tennessee after post-State of the Union stops in Maryland and Pennsylvania on Wednesday.