USC students were the teachers Monday, helping young high school students get ready for college and business life.

Columbia Urban League's Level Up program offers a nurturing curriculum for youths that includes an employment and career-shadowing component, youth-focused workshops, year-round mentoring and involvement in other Urban League youth initiatives.

Monday, USC's School of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management partnered with the Columbia Urban League to teach high school students about about dressing professionally and dining etiquette the Career Workforce Development Conference.

USC hospitality major Timothy Boykin says he enjoys working with the younger students. "In this program, we've just been teaching kids a bunch of dining etiquette, and how to be professional in a business setting. We're doing our summer class right now, and we're just learning the same thing they are, and we're just teaching them and helping to show them the way."

"Level Up" provides more than dining etiquette lessons. Program Director Juanita Dean-Bates says, "What we do is we have different speakers talking about things such as work ethic, being professional on the job, financial literacy, talk about what they do with that paycheck once they get it, and being able to learn how to save and things of that nature."

More than 400 high school students from 12 counties around the state are participating in the three-day program at Alcorn Middle School in Columbia, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m through June 15.