Coming Home Project

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The Coming Home Project was launched by WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil in 2011 to tell the stories of veterans in transition and the issues that matter to them and their families. 

US Navy photo by (SCW) F. Julian Carroll

A briefing with a three star Army General was the first order of business Tuesday at the journalists conference at Ft Leavenworth. Lieutenant General William B Caldwell was all set to appear before us via video teleconference from Afghanistan but technology got in the way. The link up didn't work properly so he spoke with reporters using the old fashioned telephone conference.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

It's Military 101 on the first official day of the journalists conference at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Inside Lewis and Clark Hall, men and some women stream through wearing the Army combat uniforms: tan, grey and green camouflage that blends well in the desert. Occasionally, you see officers from other countries like Brazil, Botswana, and Singapore, who are also here to study at the Command and General Staff College.

Jeremy Pollack.

Recent college graduates are finding it difficult to get a job at a time when the national unemployment rate remains stagnant at nine percent. But imagine if you're a veteran just back from serving overseas. You're trying to find employment while carrying the physical and mental effects of war. A consortium of schools including the University of Connecticut are helping turn disabled veterans into small business-owners. As part of WNPR's Coming Home Project, Lucy Nalpathanchil introduces us to a entrepreneurship 'bootcamp'.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

Bridging the gap between the media and the military: that's the goal of a week-long conference hosted by the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Fort Leavenworth Combined Arms Center. Seventeen journalists including myself were accepted into the program because of our interest and backgrounds covering military issues.

More than 1,000 veterans from all over Connecticut were expected in Rocky Hill Friday for an annual event called Stand Down; it's an outreach event hosted by the state Department of Veteran Affairs to help veterans in need. Stand Down is in its 16th year, an event VA Commissioner Linda Schwartz looks forward to every year. Here, she is welcoming nursing students who volunteered at the event. "Hey, hey!' 'Hi Commish.' 'It's the Yale School of Nursing!"

Veterans are among college students heading back to class this fall. At the University of Connecticut, more than 400 students have military experience. They're considered non-traditional students given the fact many enroll after multiple deployments. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on one way campuses are working to accommodate their needs. 

The U.S Department of Labor says nearly 12 percent of veterans who've served since 9-11 were unemployed last year. Twenty-five percent of them have service-related disabilities. The number of unemployed is expected to grow now that more veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are returning to a country trying to recover from the recession.  A small program by Congress aims to help veterans get back into the workforce. 

Many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered some type of brain injury. In 2009, the U.S Department of Defense found up to 90,000 troops had traumatic brain injuries. They require specialized care to regain such skills as concentration and memory. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the VA hospital in Connecticut is one of several in the country that will participate in a clinical trial to help these veterans.

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