Governor Kicks Off Process of Developing First Statewide Economic Development Strategy

Governor Josh Shapiro, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger, and Ben Kirshner, Chief Transformation Officer, Office of Transformation and Opportunity, took the next step in creating the Commonwealth’s first comprehensive economic development strategy in nearly two decades during a visit to PennAir, a company that helps people in manufacturing and construction with pneumatics, hydraulics, and automation.

“Since taking office, I have made it clear that we’re going to plant a flag here in Pennsylvania and work to be the best,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “That’s why, for the first time in nearly two decades, we’re developing a new, forward-looking strategy to ensure Pennsylvania becomes a national leader in innovation, job creation and economic development. This plan will help the Commonwealth create real economic opportunity, where all Pennsylvanians have access to family-sustaining jobs, strong and vibrant communities, and a high quality of life.”

This economic development strategy will articulate actionable plans to address some of the following key elements:

  • Simplifying the landscape of available programs and incentives available through DCED and growing a smaller set of essential tools that will be the most useful;
  • Streamlining the process for businesses relocating or expanding in Pennsylvania, including through the work of the newly created Office of Transformation and Opportunity;
  • Addressing the lack of “shovel ready” sites to attract new business to the Commonwealth and retain existing companies that require space to expand and grow;
  • Doubling down on our areas of strength in high-growth sectors like life sciences, agribusiness, manufacturing, technology and robotics, and energy, and providing targeted and focused support to these vital industries;
  • Encouraging the creation, growth, and sustainability of small businesses in Pennsylvania;
  • Supporting strong communities for businesses and workers by revitalizing and addressing the challenges facing Pennsylvania’s downtowns, Main Streets, and Elm Streets; and much more.

Starting next week, the state will begin holding listening sessions with business and economic development leaders in every region of Pennsylvania to make sure their successes and challenges are heard and considered during the creation of the strategy. These sessions will build upon dozens of smaller meetings the Administration hosted over the summer with leaders in business, economic development, labor, education, and the non-profit sector from across the Commonwealth to set the stage for the plan’s development.

The Governor also launched a new pilot program called PA SITES (Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites). The program, which begins accepting applications today, will provide $10 million in grant funding to conduct site assessments and prepare them for remediation.

“This is an exciting day for the future of economic and community development in Pennsylvania,” said DCED Secretary Rick Siger. “The new pilot PA SITES program is an important example of how the Shapiro Administration has listened to feedback from the economic development and business communities and turned it into action.”

“For years, our organization has witnessed Pennsylvania’s struggle to retain and attract businesses, often losing to other states. PennAir is honored to play a small part in an announcement that levels the playing field to make Pennsylvania not just a player, but a leader in today’s competitive economy,” said Seth Bray, CEO of PennAir. “We look forward to a bright future for small-to-medium sized businesses like ours, and a more stable future for all Pennsylvanians.”

“Today’s exciting announcement will have an immeasurable return on investment for our Commonwealth’s economic competitiveness,” said Kevin Schreiber, President & CEO of the York County Economic Alliance. “As a countywide economic development organization, we know this plan will help us best leverage our assets and empower the diverse communities across our Commonwealth for success.”

A comprehensive economic development plan for Pennsylvania will require collaboration between government at all levels and the private sector. The Commonwealth is partnering with Team Pennsylvania Foundation to ensure all voices are heard, including the private sector.