Shapiro Creates New Office to Spur the State’s Economic Growth, Keeping Another Campaign Promise

A sign indicates an empty storefront among is available along East Carson Street in the Southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

By Ashley Adams

January 24, 2023

Governor Josh Shapiro is keeping a promise he made to businesses across the commonwealth by creating a new office to streamline permit processes and expedite reviews and key incentive programs.

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order Tuesday to establish an office aimed at helping to grow Pennsylvania businesses by eliminating red tape and creating more opportunities for job growth. 

The new Office of Transformation and Opportunity will help to develop and lead an overall business growth strategy and implement economic development projects. The office will serve as a one-stop-shop for Pennsylvania businesses by coordinating with state agencies, expediting permit reviews, and ensuring the speed of business review and approval of key incentive programs. 

With the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, Shapiro has now made good on two campaign promises in his first week on the job. Last week, on his first full day in the governor’s office, Shapiro delivered on another campaign promise by eliminating the four-year college degree requirement for most state jobs.

Shapiro named Ben Kirshner, an entrepreneur and founder of Elite SEM (now Tinuiti), a digital performance marketing agency, to lead the new office.

“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,” Shapiro said in a statement. “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.”

While campaigning for governor, Shapiro said that if he was elected he would create an office of Economic Growth and Workforce Development to streamline the process for businesses to get permits and licenses. He also said he would create innovation hubs to connect businesses, universities, research centers, and workers to create jobs.

In addition to creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, Shapiro’s order on Wednesday also created the Economic Development Strategy Group, which will directly advise him on economic development projects and processes to attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders, and create good-paying jobs in the commonwealth.

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  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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