In His First Full Week, Governor Josh Shapiro Continued His Commitment to Reigniting Our Economy and Creating Real Opportunity

“We are planting a flag here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today and saying, we are open for business, and we are ready to compete.”


“I believe Pennsylvanians need to have the freedom to chart their own course, and the opportunity to succeed.”

Harrisburg, PA – In his first ten days, Governor Josh Shapiro has already delivered on several promises, opening up the doors of opportunity to more Pennsylvanians and creating a new office to reignite Pennsylvania’s economy, create jobs, and spur innovation. On Tuesday, Governor Shapiro signed an executive order establishing the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity and named Pennsylvania business leader and entrepreneur Ben Kirshner to the role of Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer. The executive order also created the Economic Development Strategy Group, led by Kirshner and chaired by Governor Shapiro, to help Pennsylvania attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders, create good-paying jobs, and jumpstart Pennsylvania’s economy.

Governor Shapiro shared his message of creating opportunity and advancing real freedom Fox News and MSNBC, discussing the executive order he signed last week that eliminates the four-year college degree requirement for 92 percent of state government jobs, an important step to create pathways to new opportunities for approximately 65,000 Pennsylvania jobs.  

Finally, Governor Shapiro met with all members of his cabinet today to discuss the Administration’s economic development, public safety, consumer protection, education, and health and human services goals to make progress for the people of Pennsylvania moving forward.

Read what people are saying about the Shapiro Administration’s first two weeks.

“Governor Shapiro’s Office of Transformation and Opportunity represents the bold vision we need to continue to build a 21st century economy that will create the jobs of the future across our state, particularly in underserved communities. I’m excited about the Governor’s leadership and the work he’s doing to create opportunities for Pennsylvanians. From my time building one of the world’s leading life sciences companies in my hometown of Philadelphia, I know our state boasts many of the ingredients necessary to create the breakthroughs of tomorrow. By bringing together businesses and innovators from across the Commonwealth, we can build a stronger economy that works for everyone.” – Jeff Marrazzo, co-founder, and former CEO of Spark Therapeutics.

The Daily Item: Opening doors for thousands in Pennsylvania

On his first full day as governor, Josh Shapiro threw a life preserver to 65,000 Pennsylvanians. In the first executive order of his new administration, Shapiro removed the college degree requirement on an estimated 65,000 jobs in the commonwealth government.

Gov. Shapiro — that will still take a while to get used to — estimates that 550 different jobs in state government will no longer require a college degree as a qualifier. The move, Shapiro and other stakeholders said, puts the emphasis on relevant skills, work experience and apprenticeships ahead of what can be a costly piece of paper.

Forbes: Penn.’s New Governor Strikes A Blow Against The College-Industrial Complex

Last week, in his first executive order, Pennsylvania’s new governor announced that 92 percent of state government jobs will no longer require a four-year college degree. Governor Josh Shapiro’s heartening move means that 65,000 state jobs no longer require a college degree, but that candidates will be free to compete for these positions based on skills, relevant experience, and merit. Shapiro’s move follows similar actions taken by Republicans, like former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, hinting at a burgeoning, bipartisan push to temper the role of college degrees in American life.[…]

Gov. Shapiro explained his action last week, saying, “Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed. They should get to decide what’s best for them – whether they want to go to college or straight into the workforce – not have that decided for them.”

That’s very well said. College can be a very good thing. That’s not at issue. But an inconsistent judicial standard and comfortable employer routines ought not oblige Americans to buy a very expensive piece of paper. Here’s hoping more governors will follow Governor Shapiro’s lead.

Philadelphia Inquirer: What is college for? Gov. Shapiro raises the question. Higher ed leaders are listening.

What is college actually for?

No one expected this to be the initial question raised by Pennsylvania’s new governor, Josh Shapiro, in his first full day on the job. While he may not have stated it explicitly, this was the essence of the Democrat’s very first executive order, which opened up some 92% of job listings in state government — about 65,000 in all — to applicants who don’t have a four-year college degree.

Lehigh Valley Business Journal: Shapiro signs executive order committing to creating economic growth

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order Tuesday creating the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor’s Office and the Economic Development Strategy Group.

The two offices will seek to create a unified strategy for economic growth and development, with a focus on disadvantaged and underserved communities.

The Office of Transformation and Opportunity will help develop and lead an overall growth strategy and implement economic development projects – coordinating with Commonwealth agencies, expediting permit reviews, and ensuring the speed of business review and approval of key incentive programs.

Pittsburgh Business Times: Shapiro announces effort to cut red tape on business development

Gov. Josh Shapiro on Tuesday signed an executive order creating a state office designed to simplify and speed up decisions for businesses seeking to invest in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday’s order creates a new Office of Transformation and Opportunity, led by former tech firm CEO Ben Kirshner, tasked with helping businesses of any size with permitting and other approvals from state agencies. Shapiro said that the mission of the office, which would be within the governor’s office and paid through existing budget lines, would be to help businesses and labor to get through the various economic development-related processes smoother, more seamless and in a quicker time frame.

The Center Square: New office created to spur economic growth in Pennsylvania

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed his second executive order expanding economic opportunities in Pennsylvania since taking office one week ago.

The directive, issued Tuesday, creates two new offices tasked with establishing a coordinated strategy to streamline starting and growing a business, with a special focus on disadvantaged and underserved communities.

“We are planting a flag here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today and saying, we are open for business, and we are ready to compete,” Shapiro said at a press conference held prior to signing the order.

On Twitter:

Morning Joe: “The fact that we can make the kind of progress we’re making here in PA shows that this is a great country with great hope and great promise, if we understand our history. And if we chart a more tolerant course for our future.”— @GovernorShapiro on overcoming antisemitic hate

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry: We proudly stood today with @GovernorShapiro & administration officials as they announced a new one-stop shop for economic development in PA. Our members tell us they want regulatory & permitting reform – and the governor is delivering! Our press release:

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: We’re thrilled that @GovernorShapiro is taking steps to foster inclusive growth through today’s executive order creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity. Learn more from the @PennCapitalStar:

PA AFL-CIO: #PAAFLCIO President Angela Ferritto joined @GovernorShapiro as he signed an Executive Order creating the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity and the Economic Development Strategy Group today. #1u #UnionStrong #Union

Learn more:

Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian joined PA Governor Josh Shapiro for the launch of the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, which will leverage the state’s distinctive innovation ecosystem to accelerate its business competitiveness.

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