USC Price School of Public Policy

USC Price hosts West Regional of Policy Solutions Challenge Feb. 23

February 12, 2014

Policy Solutions Challenge USA is pleased to announce that the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California will be the site of the West Region of the Challenge on Feb. 23.

The complete event agenda for the West Regional competition at USC Price is available for download.

Policy Solutions Challenge USA offers an annual policy analysis competition for U.S. schools of public policy, public affairs, and public administration. Every year, teams of students from the participating schools are invited to use their policy analysis skills to propose innovative and feasible solutions to one of the more difficult problems affecting the United States at the national level. Results from the Challenge are transmitted to key executive branch and congressional decision makers, and promoted online to encourage new thinking and legislative activity based on the analysis and ideas produced by these talented student teams.

For the 2014 Challenge, the topic is, “Improving employment and earnings outcomes for younger workers.” As the USA slowly exits the Great Recession of 2008 – 2010, the newest generation of workers is wondering if it will be the first in modern memory to have a lower standard of living compared to the prior generation. Job options in manufacturing and other semi-skilled labor have declined for younger workers with less than a college degree. There have been numerous reports in the news of significant levels of unemployment and underemployment among new college graduates. Amidst reporting on widening income inequality in the U.S. is evidence that younger workers are falling behind older generations in terms of their lifetime earnings potential. If this continues, the USA is headed for years of difficult public policy decisions and will face the prospect of social unrest and upheaval. The student teams entering the Challenge are proposing solutions to greatly improve the economic prospects of younger workers in the 21st century.

The first phase of the Challenge are regional competitions hosted at three sites including the USC Price School. At each site, a distinguished panel of professional policy analysts will receive presentations from each team entered in that region, offer the teams a chance to revise proposals based on feedback provided onsite, and then make a final presentation to the panel. The panel will select a first, second, and third place team for that region.

The West Regional competition will be held Sunday, Feb. 23, at Lewis Hall on the USC University Park Campus.

  • Sunday, February 23 – USC Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall
    • 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. | Check-in (practice room RGL 308)
    • 10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Welcome (RGL 101)
    • 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. | Policy Solutions Challenge (RGL 101)
    • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Lunch Provided (RGL 100)
    • 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Awards Ceremony (RGL 101)

The second phase of the Challenge will a national competition in Washington, D.C., in the second half of March 2014. The first place teams from the regions will be offered a place in the national Challenge. In Washington, D.C., another distinguished panel of professional policy analysts will receive initial presentations, provide feedback, and judge the final presentations.

At the end of the national Challenge, the panel will select a national champion, first runner-up and second runner-up.

In addition to making presentations, each participating team will prepare brief reports on their analyses. The presentations and reports will be available to the public through the Challenge website at the conclusion of the national Challenge.

The five students who will represent USC Price in this year’s challenge are Paul Chung, Hovanes Gasparian, Emily Ghan, Elizabeth Newman and Nick Perry, under the supervision of Assistant Professor T.J. McCarthy.

Last year, the student team from USC Price won first place in the West regional, and went on to compete in the final round in Washington, D.C.