Four students from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy won first place and $5,000 at the Sunstone Economic Development Challenge, a competition that tasks students with helping local governments create jobs in their communities.
The winning team – Melanie Franceschini (MPA, ‘23), Mariana Kramer de Luna (MPP, ‘24), Heather Miau (MPA, ‘23) and May Song (BSPP, ‘24) – worked with the City of Garden Grove to help its hospitality industry attract workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team’s recommendations focused on strategies to strengthen relationships between the city, hotel industry, community colleges and workforce development programs. Their recommendations also utilized existing resources including job fairs to market and create programs geared towards the industry.
The Sunstone Economic Development Challenge was established this year thanks to a five-year, $162,500 grant from Sunstone Management, a private capital firm in Southern California that invests in diverse, early stage technology entrepreneurs.
The program was created in partnership with the USC City/County Management Fellowship (CMF). CMF is supported by a board of city and county managers who provide leadership, professional advice and financial stipends to USC Price School students transitioning from the academic world to jobs in local government.
For more photos of the competition, see the USC Price School’s Flikr page.