School of Public Affairs and Administration to Host Northeast Region 2014 Policy Solutions Challenge, USA

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

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 Northeast Region 2014 Challenge takes place on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014 at Rutgers University-Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, 111 Washington Street, Newark, NJ. School teams participating include the Department of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the School of Public Affairs at American University; and the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark. The final presentation, which is open to the public, takes place on March 1 at 2 pm. Members of the press are welcome to attend the event.

The second phase of the Challenge will a national competition in Washington, DC in the latter half of March 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.

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.

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.

Erik Devereux, Policy Solutions Challenge, USA, or 855-744-0008

Marc Holzer, Rutgers University-Newark, School of Public Affairs and Administration, or 973-353-5268