THE FIVE

How one man helped veterans land jobs

Individual citizens make a difference for the troops

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," July 4, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: We have one other thing we wanted to show you because, as you know, one of the troubles that many of our troops face is when they come home, they can't find a job. Seven hundred and forty-four thousand vets are unemployed today. Corporal Andrew Steiner, a marine wounded in Iraq, was of them, until this week, with the help of the Wounded Warrior project and a veteran named Paul Gennaro. Andrew began his new job as the assistant superintendent at the vehicle security center at One World Trade this past Monday.

I got a chance to sit down with both Andrew and Paul who had never met in person until our interview. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PERINO: Paul, you took a personal approach to trying to help a veteran. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit of a background of how you got to that point.

PAUL GENNARO, AECOM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT: So, I work for AECOM. We're one of the world's largest engineering design firms. We have got 45,000 employees. And we have a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. Through that, we asked the folks from the Wounded Warrior Project to come in and meet with us.

Since I have been working with Andrew and three other folks.

PERINO: Andrew, tell me about your decision in 2001 to join the military.

CPL. ANDREW STEINER, USMC (RET): I entered the Marine Corps in September 17th, 2001. That was the first training cycle after 9/11.

PERINO: And you were deployed twice, two tours. Where was that?

STEINER: I went to Iraq twice. I was there for the invasion in March of 2003. And I came home and I went back in June of 2004.

When I left the Marine Corps in 2005, I went into real estate finance. We were seeing a lot of default. You know, I was one of the lowest guys on the rung and they gave me my walking papers.

PERINO: But you continued to try to find work. What were you doing in between?

STEINER: Anything and everything.

PERINO: Paul, you also have a military background.

GENNARO: Yes, I completed seven years of naval service in 1994. One of the challenges I experienced when I got out was taking the skills, the leadership traits, the things that I learned in the military and translating them over into terms that would be relevant to civilian hiring managers.

So, having gone through that myself, I thought that might be an area where I could assess.

PERINO: What did you have to do to help get him ready for the interview that he ended up having?

GENNARO: I think with Andrew, he's got the skill sets and he's got a lot of great energy and he's a smart guy. So, really, with him -- it was a matter of saying what do you want to do.

PERINO: You just landed a great new job. What does it mean to you, Andrew, to be going back to full-time employment but having it be at One World Trade?

STEINER: It was very special because of the importance of the project.

PERINO: How do you think that your experience in the military is going to help you be successful at your new job?

STEINER: When you transition to construction industry you have the same things, a large-scale project like the World Trade Center is really a natural fit. It is inherently dangerous, and, you know, it's just keeping everybody focused on what needs to be done in a safe manner that really is a parallel to the Marine Corps.

PERINO: Your thoughts on not just having a moral obligation to help our veterans. Why is it important in other ways?

GENNARO: We as a nation have invested a great deal in training our men and women in the military. They've made this large investment in defense. For us to fully get the return on that investment, when they come back to the military, let's put them to work.

PERINO: What would you tell any veterans that are watching today if they have been hesitant at all to reach out? Is it just a matter of making a phone call?

STEINER: It is. Go online and be proactive, just like you are in the military. Just because you are out, you know, you may have lost your sense of purpose but the resources are there. They are available to you. There is always someone to call. It's really letting those people know that the people in Paul's position that they're capable of helping these veterans.

PERINO: People realize with just one phone call, they could decide to help three or four additional people.

GENNARO: We can help just a little bit. Their skills will take over and good things will happen.

PERINO: Personally for you, Andrew, what else is on the horizon?

STEINER: I plan on staying here in New York and hopefully --

PERINO: Maybe meet a lady?

STEINER: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: This is a dating site?

PERINO: It could be a dating site. "The Five's" dating, matchmaking service. Remarkably, three of the four vets that Paul has taken under his wings since April 13th are now employed.

I love this story, Andrea, because AECOM is a wonderful company that I've worked with in the past. But I think the individual gumption of somebody like Paul Gennaro, who is a dad, he's got a busy job, he said -- you know, maybe one-on-one tutoring would make a difference. He said being a vet himself he could understand what it is like to look at the resume of Andrew Steiner and say, well, this is way too -- it's like military speak. Let's just switch this around.

He's already helped three people land a job in two months.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: And he is smart. Why wouldn't you hire someone that has that kind of commitment, dedication, doesn't complain, that kind of discipline, you know he is going to be on time?

And really, it's the best way to say thank you. I mean, you think what they do for us every single day. So, to come home, if you could hire just one veteran, you make a difference in their lives. I actually think, you know, we do bash government a little bit, but I do think the military -- the military is obviously a different animal. I mean, these guys and gals are incredible. And I think they can work with private and public partnerships for the government to help inform business owners of who is available and who they can hire, who's coming back for more and who needs work.

PERINO: One of the things that Andrew said, Greg, is that it was kind of -- he would go to the job fairs that they had. There are a lot of companies and a lot of different programs that work together, as Andrew said. Really, he just needed to make a phone call.

But he said that if he went to a job fair, he was there with a thousand other vets and they're all going for the same job and there was no individualized attention. But that that was what really made a difference was actually talking to one person and having them open the door.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Yes, I mean, job fairs I remember going to them, are incredibly depressing. It's sad because you feel like just a nobody with a sheet of paper that nobody reads. I feel there should be Affirmative Action for vets. If there's anybody that deserves to get a cut in line given the amount of work they have done for the country, it's them.

The other thing, too, is when you think about military service, isn't that the real college when you think about the contemporary campus and what is being taught on campus to play video games and get high, it seems military experience is where you get life experience. It is the new college campus. It is like the opposite of the campus. It's where you really learn something. And the discipline that you get from military service translates much more easily to work than the stuff you learn on campus, where you major in musical theater.

TANTAROS: Well, that's an interesting point, Eric. I wonder if you can talk about this because Andrew actually signed up to go to the MKarines when he was a senior in high school. That January of that year, 9/11 had not happened. He actually started boot camp September 17th, so, right afterwards.

And everybody in his group was from the New York/New Jersey area. So, they had this camaraderie. But look at the experience that he got. And when he came home and he got that job and he was laid off, he didn't wait around. He worked in construction off Broadway. He worked in a meat packing plant. These guys really do want to work.

BOLLING: There is no reason not to hire a vet. They are committed. They are hard working. We know that. They are task-oriented and they are problem-solvers, just by nature of what they've been true.

Side story, when I was trading at Wall Street, literally 2,000 people would stand on the floor. Individuals, we all work for ourselves, we risked our own money, we made loss. Sometimes you'd have to bring people in, the best traders, the best workers, the best employees, the best clerks, were always with the ex-military -- either sports or the military backgrounds because they are focused. They know how to work hard. When they are confronted with a problem, they figure a way around the problem, they figure how to solve the problem, not trying to figure out how to run out the back door and blame it on somebody else.

TANTAROS: And, Bob, the number of vets that are unemployed, I mentioned, 744,000. that number can be very overwhelming. You can think, oh my gosh, I will just send money to one of the programs and see if they could help. But you do a lot of one-on-one mentoring for people for lots of different things, one of them being helping people in their addiction.

What do you think about that personal connection? If everybody out there watching wanted to help a vet, if they knew they could help, you have done that type of thing before.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Well, I think it really matters. I think, more importantly, let me size my own experience doing this. But what this one guy said here I thought was very, very important.

And you mentioned it, that we pay all of this money to train these people. They get the top of the line training. They learn a lot of skills and not at least of which are leadership skills, it seems to me what better people to go and hire. I mean, I just think, we made that investment we might as well get it coming out of the back end.

PERINO: What I loved was Wounded Warrior Project when Paul said to them, because AECOM had Wounded Warrior Project come and give a presentation. It was at the end of it, Paul said, well, I could help some people. And they said, well, how many can you help. He said, how about three? And they said, "We'll give you four."

And now, three out of the four are employed. Well, we didn't hire a military veteran for president.

BOLLING: That's a good point.

PERINO: But you don't have to be in the military --

TANTAROS: And look what happened.

BOLLING: How that's working out.

TANTAROS: What about references, though?

(LAUGHTER)

BECKEL: Glad you got that in Fourth of July, Greg.

TANTAROS: Every job, I've ever had I got through someone knowing somebody or making the opportunity available in networking, if everyone could just refer a veteran or keep your eye out for veterans coming home and if they need a job and refer them to other people, the connecting I think is probably something that maybe isn't as good.

PERINO: And you don't necessarily have -- because you have been serving overseas and you have two tours you haven't done the sort of networking that other people in more of an urban setting might have done.

GUTFELD: By the way, that wasn't a jab at President Obama. That was credit to John McCain who was a war hero. I didn't mean as --

BECKEL: No, I understand that. The one last thing I will say is that it seems that the government ought to do a little bit more on doing this --

PERINO: Andrew actually said that he thinks the government does actually do a fairly good job of letting -- of having the programs. It is just sort of getting the information to the vet and the vet being willing to make a call and ask for help.

BECKEL: Right. So, if you need help, you know where to call. And also, if you can help, Wounded Warrior Project is a great place, and there are others.

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