Movement from Harrisburg- Shapiro announces Exec Order creating Economic Dev Group

24 January 2023- Today, Governor Josh Shapiro signed an executive order establishing the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor’s Office and the Economic Development Strategy Group. This newly created office will be a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow and will work to aggressively reignite Pennsylvania’s economy – fostering innovation, supporting transformational economic development, and creating real opportunity for businesses and workers alike in our Commonwealth, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind. As part of this announcement, Governor Shapiro named Pennsylvania business leader and entrepreneur Ben Kirshner to the role of Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer.

The Governor’s executive order to create this office and bring in a business leader to serve as Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer underscores how building an economy that works for all is a key priority for his Administration. On day one, Governor Shapiro demonstrated his commitment to creating economic growth and success here in Pennsylvania by taking action to open the doors of opportunity to workers without college degrees. Now, with this new executive order, Governor Shapiro is sending a clear message that Pennsylvania is open for business and that the Commonwealth will work more quickly and find a way to get to yes in order to spur real economic development.  

Today’s executive order created the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity and the Economic Development Strategy Group. 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 Josh 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.”

“Governor Shapiro has heard from the business community and labor, and by signing this order within his first week, his Administration is saying loud and clear that we will work to create transformational change in Pennsylvania. Businesses of all sizes have been asking for economic development to be a focal point in his administration and he answered their calls by creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity,” said Pennsylvania Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer Ben Kirshner. “As a CEO, I know what it takes to entice a business to relocate and remain in the Commonwealth. I am aware of the issues that need immediate consideration in order to attract companies and jobs to Pennsylvania Now, as Chief Transformation Officer, I will lead the Administration’s efforts in streamlining processes for businesses to navigate multiple agencies in Pennsylvania. I am proud to serve our business community and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

“Today, Governor Shapiro and his Administration are making a real commitment to growing our economy, fostering innovation, and ensuring every Pennsylvanian has access to good-paying jobs,” said Acting Secretary of DCED, Rick Siger. “As Secretary of Community and Economic Development, I look forward to partnering with Ben and the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to support Pennsylvania businesses and workers and maximize the opportunity to attract game-changing economic development projects to our Commonwealth. The Department of Community and Economic Development will continue to do our part to ensure Pennsylvania becomes a national leader in innovation and job creation.”

Governor Shapiro and his Administration are committed to growing Pennsylvania’s economy so that it works for everyone. Governor Shapiro’s Office of Transformation and Opportunity will capitalize on Pennsylvania’s workforce, world-class universities, and natural resources to attract investment, promote job creation, and jump-start Pennsylvania’s economy.