One Year of CODE PA: New Shapiro Administration Tech Team Transforms How Pennsylvanians Interact with the Commonwealth Online, Reimagines Digital Service Delivery, and Helps State Government Move at the Speed of Business

Governor Shapiro created CODE PA one year ago to create user-friendly and accessible digital services that create opportunity for Pennsylvanians – and CODE PA has helped to make state government move at the speed of business.


In its first year, CODE PA has helped Pennsylvania become a national leader in digital service delivery –– reforming the Commonwealth’s permitting processes, launching a new tool to help Pennsylvanians apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, and more.

Harrisburg, PA – One year ago, Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order establishing the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) to improve online services for Pennsylvanians and streamline the way they interact with the Commonwealth online. Today, CODE PA celebrates its first anniversary with its 30+ staff by highlighting key projects from its first year and launching a new website and internship program to recruit talented young professionals to the Commonwealth.

“Every day, my Administration is working to meet the people of Pennsylvania where they are – both online and in their communities – and CODE PA is proving that there is truly no wrong door to access state government," said Governor Josh Shapiro. "In just one year, CODE PA has brought in some of the most impressive digital leaders from around the state to build a money-back guarantee portal for our permits, licenses, and certificates; create an external review form for denied health insurance claims; build a tool to help applicants for the Property Tax/Rent rebate program find in-person assistance, and so much more. CODE PA is making Pennsylvania state government more accessible, and their success is testament of what we can do when we invest in our digital services and think creatively to ensure we’re serving the people of Pennsylvania.” 

“CODE PA is a dedicated team of innovators and leaders whose singular focus is to create and administer exceptional digital experiences and services for Pennsylvanians who interact with the Commonwealth online,” said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver. “CODE PA is transforming our approach to building, managing, and procuring technology to support state agencies and better serve Pennsylvanians.”

“Pennsylvania is one of just a few states with an in-house digital services team like CODE PA – and our goal since day one has been to transform how Pennsylvanians interact with state government by making their digital experiences easier and more accessible,” said Bry Pardoe, CODE PA Executive Director. “Over time, we hope that CODE PA can be a model and resource to the larger civic tech community across the nation that has given us so much support over the past year to be able to do this amazing work.”

Watch this video featuring the CODE PA team and highlighting the office’s first year.

CODE PA’s First Year Highlights

CODE PA has already made significant strides to improve and modernize Commonwealth websites and digital services and help Pennsylvanians connect with the resources the Commonwealth provides:

Building an Experienced Leadership Team to Reimagine Pennsylvania’s Digital Service Delivery

  • Following the Governor’s Executive Order and appointment of Bry Pardoe as Executive Director in April 2023, CODE PA has built a leadership team and staff of more than 30 to bring private sector best practices to the Commonwealth’s digital services work. Additionally, existing Commonwealth IT and contractor staff for digital accessibility and websites have been merged into CODE PA, creating a robust team of professionals who bring diverse skillsets and perspectives to creating modern digital services to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians. CODE PA continues to hire new team members, growing their already robust team.

Launching PAyback, A First-in-the-Nation Online Money-Back Guarantee System to Bring Increased Accountability & Transparency to Commonwealth Permitting, Licensing, and Certification Processes

  • In November 2023, CODE PA and the Office of Transformation and Opportunity launched, a first-in-the-nation online money-back guarantee system, delivering on Governor Shapiro’s promise to establish standard response times for licenses, permits, and certifications and create a money-back guarantee for applications that exceed these timeframes. Since the launch of PAyback, state agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of State have made significant progress to reduce their processing times and eliminate backlogs. As a result, applicants are experiencing greater certainty and fewer delays when they do business with the Commonwealth.

Launching An External Review Process and New Website for Pennsylvanians to Appeal Denied Health Plan Services

  • In January 2024, CODE PA and the Pennsylvania Insurance Department unveiled a new website and online form to request a review of denied health insurance claims. When coverage for a medical service, treatment, and other item is denied, and after a consumer completes the internal appeal process with their insurer, they can now go to the department and have independent medical experts review their case.  

Launching a New Online Tool to Help Property Tax/Rent Rebate Applicants Find In-Person Assistance

  • In February, CODE PA and the Department of Revenue launched a new lookup tool to help Pennsylvanians pinpoint a location nearby where they can receive in-person assistance with their applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) program. The tool provides an easy way for older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities who benefit from the PTRR program to enter their ZIP code and find verified resources to help them file their rebate application.

Hosting “Lori Listens” Focus Group Sessions with First Lady Lori Shapiro

  • Hosted by First Lady Lori Shapiro at the Governor’s Residence, CODE PA has helped lead focus groups to gather input from Pennsylvanians to guide the development of digital services. These “Lori Listens” sessions have helped CODE PA bring together a dozen new moms and their children to understand the features and functionality they would want in a mobile application called “Myana,” being developed by the University of Pittsburgh with funding from the Department of Human Services. CODE PA has also hosted other focus groups for businesses and non-profits to learn about their experiences with the grants process.

New CODE PA Website & Digital Experience (“Forms That Suck Less”) Internship

To mark its first year, CODE PA today launched, highlighting major projects completed by the office to make Pennsylvania’s digital services more human-centered, user-friendly, and accessible. Pennsylvanians can submit questions to the CODE PA team through the website, which will be used in the future to seek volunteers to participate in user testing of forthcoming digital services.

CODE PA is also marking its first year with the launch of a new summer internship program for undergraduate students who are interested in careers in the user experience (UX) design. The interns will work to inventory and evaluate existing online forms and gather input through interviews and focus groups to make them more accessible and user-friendly. Completing a form is often the first step to engage with many programs and services offered by state agencies, such as applying for benefits, making them a critical touch point for online interactions. Interested students can apply for CODE PA summer internships now through Tuesday, April 30.

What’s Next for CODE PA

CODE PA will continue to build upon the momentum and success of its first year to make Pennsylvania’s online services the best in the country. Pennsylvanians can look forward to seeing more of CODE PA’s work on new and ongoing projects, including:

  • – CODE PA and the Governor’s Office are working on a new version of that is more streamlined, accessible, and easy to use. The new online presence for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania emphasizes connecting residents with information and services through search capabilities and intuitive organization and navigation design. As a result, residents will be able to find what they need – without needing to know which agency provides the service or even which services they might need.
  • Single Login – CODE PA is also continuing to work on implementing a consistent, secure set of login credentials that residents can use across all Commonwealth websites. Currently, residents must create unique accounts for the different services they use, resulting in multiple digital identities to manage and remember. In the future, residents will have one place to go to update their information with the Commonwealth and learn about benefits and programs for which they are eligible.
  • DEP Permitting – The vast majority of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) applications and permitting licenses are submitted by paper. CODE PA is working in partnership with DEP and IT to modernize the technology and business processes in a way that makes it easier for residents, businesses, and agency employees to improve DEP’s online permitting processes and enhance their customer experience.

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