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Applications and job information pamphlets are made available to job seekers during a one-day hiring event at a McDonald's restaurant in Pleasanton, Calif. - 

Bob Moon: Amid hopeful signs we might be emerging from the long "jobless recovery," there's word somebody's hiring: McDonald's. The chain says it'll hire up to 50,000 people later this month. All of them in a single day -- April 19th.

The company says it's growing, and that more stores are staying open 24 hours. As Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports, the hiring spree is also about something else: ordering up a new image.

Alisa Roth: Sharon Lipscomb is always in the market for new employees. Lipscomb owns 12 McDonald's franchises around Las Vegas. And lately, because of the economy, she's been hiring a lot of college students.

Sharon Lipscomb: What they told me was they never really considered us before. They didn't understand the opportunities; they didn't understand how much they would learn.

She's hoping the hiring day will help convince people who are looking for careers that working at McDonald's is more than just a McJob. The company itself has been trying to get that message across for years.

Mark Kalinowski follows McDonald's at Janney Capital Markets. He says Mickey D's is going to hire all these people anyway. But, doing it all at once gets it a lot of attention and makes the company look good.

Mark Kalinowski: They are an employer that is hiring in not the greatest economy in the world, so that's a plus for the economy in general, that's a plus for the individuals that get hired.

All of that is a plus for McDonald's, since the fast food chain often held up as an example of what's wrong with America right now: high-calorie foods and low-wage jobs. Instead, McDonald's would rather be in a category with companies like Starbucks, which are seen as offering real career ladders.

Kalinowski: McDonald's has put hard work into making sure its employees realize that they're valued.

Not every hamburger flipper is going to end up a CEO. But Kalinowski says at some point, most of McDonald's top management has had a chance to ask 'Would you like fries with that?'

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.