Rutgers University-Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration to Host Northeast Region 2014 Policy Solutions Challenge, USA

BY lyanne


The School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark hosted the Northeast Region Policy Solutions Challenge, USA on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014.

The 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 Rutgers University-Newark. 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 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team for that region.

The second phase of the Challenge will be a national competition in Washington, March 21-22  2014. The 1st place teams from the regions will be offered a place in the national Challenge. In Washington, DC, another distinguished panel of professional policy analysts will receive initial presentations, provide feedback, and judge the final presentations.


Judges: The School of Public Affairs and Administration and Policy Solutions Challenge USA wish to thank the following persons for graciously serving as judges in the Northeast Region.

Ken Karamichael
Director, Rutgers T.E.E.M. Gateway / Youth Success Centers of NJ

Casto Maldonado
CEO, FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development
*Automatic berth in Nationals
First Place*Rutger1st

School of Public Affairs at American University

Team: Haile Dagne, Kellen Grode, Tracey Livingston, Kency Nittler.
l-r: Rutgers Associate Dean Peter Hoontis, Grode, Dagne, Nittler, Livingston.




2nd PlaceRutgers2nd

School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers, Newark

Team: Becky Kelman, Christopher Kozak, Josh Osowski,
Christopher Randall, Ashley Williams.




3rd PlaceRutgers3rd

Department of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Team: Beth Arman, Valerie Benson, Tyrone McKoy,
Nichole Stewart.

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

Rutgers University-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA)
Ranked 7th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University-Newark educates and motivates students to choose careers in public service and administration through its innovative and comprehensive undergraduate (BA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA), PhD, and professional and graduate certificate programs. The school’s faculty generates knowledge and best practices in public service and administration, and collaborates with public and nonprofit sector organizations and professionals throughout the U.S. and the world. Guided by the principles of knowledge, competence, diversity, and service – with an emphasis on public service values and competencies for effective performance – SPAA promotes accountability, transparency, and performance in the public and nonprofit sectors.


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