HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed an executive order Tuesday establishing the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor’s Office and the Economic Development Strategy Group.
Shapiro says the office will be a “one-stop-shop” for businesses looking to grow in Pennsylvania where they can find information to build or expand.
As part of this announcement, Governor Shapiro named Ben Kirshner for the role of Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer. Kirshner will report directly to the governor.
Both offices will work to create a unified strategy for economic growth and development, with a special 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. Instead of forcing business to go to multiple agencies for permits, approvals, and funding, the Office will serve as a one-stop-shop to cut through red tape, bring state agencies together, support Pennsylvania businesses who want to grow, and encourage other businesses to move here.
- The Economic Development Strategy Group will be driven by the Chief Transformation Officer, and will be chaired by the Governor, consisting of the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer and the Secretaries of Labor & Industry, Community and Economic Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Education, and Environmental Protection. This group will directly advise the Governor on economic development projects and processes to attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders, and create good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania, particularly in underserved communities.
“I’ve heard from business and labor leaders across the Commonwealth – government needs to work more quickly and figure out a way to get to yes. Today, we are making clear that Pennsylvania is open for business, and that we are going to be leaders in economic growth, job creation, and innovation,” said Governor Shapiro. “My Administration will connect our business, our workforce, our world-class universities and research institutions, and the public sector to spur economic development, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind. By helping businesses that are already here, encouraging new ones to move to Pennsylvania, and investing in our workforce, we can create real opportunity and build an economy that works for everyone.”
The Economic Development Strategy Group include the Governor, Chief Transportation and Opportunity Officer, and secretaries for the departments of Labor & Industry, Community & Economic Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Education, and Environmental Protection.