This Week in the Shapiro Administration: Expanding Broadband Access Across Pennsylvania, Supporting Berks County Recovery Efforts, Launching the Statewide Safer Communities Tour, and More

Harrisburg, PA – This week, Governor Josh Shapiro and his Administration continued to serve the people of Pennsylvania – highlighting plans to expand broadband access in communities all across our Commonwealth, supporting Pennsylvanians impacted by the flooding in Berks County and connecting them with resources, eliminating the birth certificate amendment request backlog, celebrating Urban Agriculture Week, and more.

On Monday, Governor Shapiro visited Lower Alsace Township in Berks County to pledge his Administration’s full support for the ongoing recovery efforts – and his Administration followed through on that promise, opening a Multi-Agency Resource Center for Pennsylvanians impacted by flooding. So far, over 100 Pennsylvanians have visited the center to connect with staff and resources.

Governor Shapiro also traveled to Luzerne County with Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson to highlight the Shapiro Administration’s plans to expand broadband access across the Commonwealth using more than $1.16 billion in federal funding.

Additionally, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis kicked off his statewide Safer Communities Tour with visits to Pittsburgh, York, Philadelphia, Allentown, and Wilkes-Barre to highlight local efforts, funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), to address gun violence and make Pennsylvania’s communities safer. Lieutenant Governor Davis is the chair of PCCD.

Read about the Shapiro Administration’s work across Pennsylvania this week below:

Governor Shapiro Visits Lower Alsace Township in Berks County and Opens Multi-Agency Resource Center for Pennsylvanians Impacted by Flooding

  • On Monday, Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield visited the Lower Alsace Township building in Berks County to meet with local Lower Alsace Township leaders and first responders after Sunday’s flash flooding and pledged to set up a multi-agency state resource center (MARC) in Berks County for Pennsylvanians impacted.
  • On Thursday, the Shapiro Administration followed through on that promise and opened the MARC to help connect Pennsylvanians seeking assistance from state agencies with agency staff in person at the center to get the resources they need.
  • Following the Governor’s visit, Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll and Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid Mumin have been in regular communication with Berks County local leaders to offer their agencies’ support to the community and to clear debris and reopen the roads around Antietam Creek, rebuild the Carsonia Avenue bridge safely and as quickly as possible, and to discuss how students can return to school in the fall safely.
  • Local residents have praised the quick response and availability of resources at the MARC, telling WFMZ, “It’s a stress reliever actually to know that all these resources came together and that they are so willing to help” and “It’s just a relief to know that this is acknowledged – the problem that I’m going through and what everybody is going through from my area.”

Governor Shapiro, Department of Agriculture Announce Increased Investment in Urban Agriculture in Partnership with The GIANT Company

  • During the Department of Agriculture’s Urban Agriculture Week, Governor Shapiro joined Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and The GIANT Company to tour York Fresh Food Farms and to announce the GIANT Company’s commitment of $200,000 to support 2023-24 PA Farm Bill Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grants. The GIANT Company’s contribution boosts total funding to $700,000 for the state’s program aimed at increasing fresh food access in urban food deserts, addressing historical inequities, and feeding community opportunities to thrive together.
  • Pennsylvania has invested more than $2 million in urban agriculture through the program since 2019. That $2 million investment has leveraged an additional $2 million in local matching dollars. In total, 113 projects in 19 counties across the state are expanding fresh food access in locations often served by a single convenience store.

In Luzerne County, Governor Shapiro Highlights Administration’s Plans to Bring High-Speed, Affordable Broadband to Every Pennsylvania Community

  • Governor Shapiro and Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson highlighted the Shapiro Administration’s plans to expand broadband access across the Commonwealth using more than $1.16 billion in federal funding and outlined plans to ensure every Pennsylvanian can access the internet during a visit to Luzerne County.
  • PBDA staff and leadership have been traveling the Commonwealth, hosting community engagement events to collect feedback to shape Pennsylvania’s broadband expansion plans and digital equity programs. The PBDA wants to hear from as many Pennsylvanians as possible as it works to make Internet for All a reality in Pennsylvania and develops a five-year action plan to implement the BEAD funding. In the past two weeks alone, PBDA has hosted community engagement events in Washington, Montour, Huntingdon, Erie, Lackawanna, Somerset, York, and Centre counties.

Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis Kicks Off Statewide Safer Communities Tour Highlighting Community-Based Initiatives to Address Gun Violence and Make Pennsylvania Communities Safer

  • This week, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis kicked off his statewide Safer Communities Tour to highlight local efforts funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) that are working to address gun violence and make our communities safer.
  • Lieutenant Governor Davis featured the work of the Neighborhood Resilience Project and Allegheny County’s violence prevention program in Pittsburgh, the York Group Violence Intervention initiative, the Center for Families and Relationships and YEAH Philly in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley Hospital & Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, and the Victims Resource Center in Wilkes-Barre. The Safer Communities tour will continue next week with a stop in Erie.

Department of Health Eliminates Birth Certificate Backlog, Continues to Streamline Processes to Deliver Results for Pennsylvanians

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced it has eliminated a backlog of birth certificate amendment requests. In January 2023 when Governor Josh Shapiro took office, the backlog stood at 6,200 requests. As of Monday, that backlog has been eliminated.
  • To tackle the backlog, the Department made significant process improvements that focused on streamlining staff workflow, aligning with Governor Shapiro’s goal to create a better customer experience across all agencies of the Commonwealth, and follows similar accomplishments in the Department of Human Services.

The Department of Environmental Protection Announces Steering Committee for $5 Million Environmental Mitigation Community Fund, Hosts Open Meeting for Community Feedback

  • The Department of Environmental Protection announced the members of a steering committee who will be tasked with developing a protocol to allocate $5 million in funding for community projects in Beaver County. The Shapiro Administration secured the funding as part of its settlement of air quality violations by Shell Chemical Appalachia, LLC during the commissioning of its cracker plant in Potter Township.
  • The Department also hosted an open meeting for the public to provide information, answer questions about the fund, and receive public feedback as they develop the allocation protocol.

The Department of Labor & Industry Promoted Workforce Services Available through PA CareerLink® Network, Discusses Workforce Challenges During Erie Visit

  • Secretary Nancy A. Walker kicked off a statewide tour to promote the one-stop-shop services available to Pennsylvania workers and employers through PA CareerLink®, a network of 62 offices embedded in local communities and staffed with professionals who help workers build in-demand skills, prepare for the job application process and secure family-sustaining employment.
  • Secretary Walker and state Rep. Pat Harkins visited PA CareerLink® Erie and met with community leaders, representatives of Northwest Pennsylvania (NWPA) Job Connect and local employers to discuss how PA CareerLink® services can help address ongoing workforce challenges in the region. 

See more of what Pennsylvanians’ are seeing and reading about the Shapiro Administration’s work across our Commonwealth this week.

Reading Eagle: Resource center opening for those affected by flooding in Berks

WPVI: Resource center to open in Berks County to help those impacted by flooding after weekend storm

WFMZ: Multiple agencies offer flood recovery help at ETSD administration building

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Lt. Gov Austin Davis kicks off Safer Communities initiative to highlight community efforts against gun violence

Pittsburgh Union Progress: Lt. Gov. Austin Davis comes to Hill District to start weeklong tour to push for gun violence prevention efforts

WGAL: Lt. Gov. Davis visits York to highlight gun violence prevention initiatives

The Times Leader: In Pittston, Shapiro details plan to bring high-speed broadband to all of Pa.

WTAJ: Historic investment to bring high-speed internet across Pennsylvania

The Tribune-Democrat: Broadband authority collects info in Somerset ahead of $1.16 billion internet expansion

WGAL: Shapiro administration announces increased investment in urban agriculture in Pennsylvania

Central Pennsylvania Business Journal: Shapiro, GIANT Company announce increased investment in PA agriculture

WJET/WFXP: PA Secretary of Labor & Industry promotes career-building paths in Erie visit

Beaver County Times: Community panel to make plan for Shell’s $5 million air quality settlement fund


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