Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law

First Advisor

Adrienne Fulco

Second Advisor

Abigail Fisher Williamson

Third Advisor

Edward Cabot


This thesis analyzes the current opportunities and challenges for young, Post-9/11 veterans reintegrating back into civilian life. Young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have higher unemployment rates compared to their non-military counterparts. This thesis explores how multiple deployments and higher percentages of physical disabilities contribute to the uniqueness of the young veteran’s challenge to obtain employment. Despite the many benefits provided by the VA, young veterans often have to endure very long waiting periods before the VA can process and grant their benefits. The thesis also identifies three individual states with different economic profiles that contribute to either low young veteran unemployment rates (Virginia) or high ones (Ohio and Oregon). The state of Washington’s unique and innovative programs designed to help young veterans merits its own discussion. Washington has innovative programs such as a multi-agency Memorandum of Understanding and the Veteran Conservation Corps that are first in the nation programs aimed to provide greater support and opportunities for young veterans returning home. The state examples show the importance of government jobs and military bases as two features that help young veterans find employment. This thesis also provides recommendations to help improve the process of reintegrating young veterans such as promoting reform of the VA claims process, advocating for state level creative programs to help more veterans, and increasing public awareness to young veterans’ issues such as PTSD.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law with honors.