Local Government Case Competition

Registration for the 2023 Local Government Case Competition is now live! Register online. Registration closes on October 25th at 11:59 PM.

The 2023 case topic will be related to involuntary commitments. Additional case details will be shared at the Kick-Off Event on Monday, November 6th.

The Allegheny County Local Government Case Competition brings together graduate students studying in the fields of public policy, social work, business psychology, design, law and other related fields, to brainstorm solutions to a real-world problem related to human services delivery.

DHS will be hosting two virtual info sessions to provide students with additional information about the case competition. Interested students can register to attend either session using the links below:

If you have questions about the Case Competition, you can email us at DHS Case Competition.

Why Should I Participate?

By participating in the DHS Local Government Case Competition, graduate students have the opportunity to:

  • Explore public sector career possibilities in an intellectually challenging way
  • Strategize with peers from some of the top graduate programs in the region
  • Get an in-depth look at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and network with Department staff and judges from a variety of sectors – non-profit, private, government, and more.
  • Receive a case, analyze it, and present their solution to some of the foremost leaders in local government, private foundations, and academia in Allegheny County
  • Win a team prize (courtesy of the Human Services Integration Fund) of up to $3,500 after final presentations (the top 3 teams win a prize)

2023 Local Government Case Competition Timeline

2023 Local Government Case Competition Timeline: November 6-11

Monday, November 6: Case Competition Kick-Off Event
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
In-person event, Area Agency on Aging Office, 2100 Wharton St. Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Participants will join us in-person at DHS’s Area Agency on Aging to be introduced to their teammates, the case challenge, and learn what to expect throughout the competition.

Wednesday, November 8: Executive Summaries Due
10:00 AM
Teams must submit their executive summaries to DHS for initial review.

Wednesday, November 8: Finalists Announced
8:00 PM
DHS will contact all teams to announce which 6 teams will advance to the final, presentation-based round of the competition. Finalists will have approximately 48 hours to create presentations of their proposals to present to a panel of judges.

Saturday, November 11: Presentations
11:30 AM – 5:00 PM
In-person event, Area Agency on Aging Office, 2100 Wharton St. Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Finalists will present their proposals to a panel of judges at DHS’s Area Agency on Aging office. All participants, both finalists and other teams, are invited to attend the presentation portion of the event. After all teams present, DHS will announce the winners of first, second, and third place.

Saturday, November 11: Happy Hour
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Walkable, nearby location (TBD)
All participants are invited to join DHS staff at a happy hour.

2022 Case Competition Winners

The 2022 theme was “Innovating in the Aftershock of Covid-19: A Post-Pandemic Local Government Playbook” Given that the pandemic exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and created long-lasting societal effects, placing even more demand on local government systems in the coming decades, we asked graduate student teams to craft a solution to a pandemic-related impact with a goal of managing its long-term implications. Forty-six graduate students comprising 12 teams participated in the 2022 competition, with four teams moving to the finals.

Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2022 Local Government Case Competition (#dhscasecomp)

1st Place: Adolescent Mental Health Solutions via Mentorships

This solution proposed a sustainable plan for mental health mentoring between college and high school students that set forth the establishment of a curriculum development and training team, program implementation and evaluation.


  • Brook Russi Arias – CMU M.S. in Public Policy and Management
  • Melanie Diaz – CMU Public Policy & Management: DC Track
  • Katie Willis – Duquesne University M.A. in Applied and Public Sociology

2nd Place: Becoming Proactive, not Punitive with Truancy

This team addressed the increase in truancy since Covid-19 and the reality that current responses to truancy involve inequitable interventions, overlook unaddressed needs and do not effectively engage school administration in the problem. Their solution offered a universal attendance application, a risk model to consider factors such as IEP status, demographics, housing or food instability, mental health and more, and a Community Coordinator to intervene and remove barriers between the student and family to accessing necessary resources.


  • Laura Bessko – University of Pittsburgh M.S.W.
  • Ricardo Ibarra Gil – CMU Master’s in Public Policy and Management. Data Analytics track
  • Addakin Thomas, CMU – MS Healthcare Policy & Management

3rd Place: Healing on Wheels: Bringing Support Near You

This team proposed a mobile mental health clinic to visit different underserved communities on a rotating basis. In addition to psychological evaluations and therapy, services would include psychoeducation on mental health, case management to connect to services and referrals for further treatment.


  • Dan Rudy – University of Pittsburgh, Master of Public Administration
  • Christina Witman – Chatham University Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

4th Place: Community Connectors: Community Connectors

In this team’s plan, local residents are trained and paid to serve as mental health liaisons to youth from underserved communities including Black, low-income, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. Community Connectors would be models of community engagement, normalizing holistic wellness and providing transportation to assist with accessibility to a variety of needed resources.


  • Oluwasekemi "Kemi" Odumosu – CMU M.S. of Public Policy & Management – Data Analytics
  • Nabila Jamal Orozco – University of Pittsburgh – Doctoral program in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology
  • Stelle Scott – Chatham university – Master’s in Counseling Psychology

Past Case Competition Information

For more information on the topics and results of past case competitions, see our Case Competition page on the DHS Analytics website.