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Shapiro says his administration is preparing to hire the next generation of state workers

Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver speaks at an event where Gov. Josh Shapiro signed Executive Order 2024-01, establishing the Hire, Improve, Recruit, Empower (HIRE) Committee to expand opportunity for Pennsylvanians seeking a career in public service, continue to build a more competitive commonwealth workforce, and make state government the best place to work in the commonwealth on Monday, May 13, 2024. (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

Peter Hall, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 13, 2024

Anticipating the need to recruit and hire the next generation of Pennsylvania state employees, Gov. Josh Shapiro on Monday signed an executive order to ensure his and future administrations are able to attract skilled and experienced workers. 

Speaking at the first Commonwealth Job Fair at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Shapiro noted that 24% of the workforce in state agencies under the governor’s office will become eligible to retire in the next five years.

To help the state remain competitive in a challenging job market, Shapiro signed the executive order to ensure Pennsylvania state government is an attractive and fulfilling place to work, representative of Pennsylvania as a whole, and accessible to state residents.

State government has about 600 open positions, Shapiro said.

“So whether you’ve just graduated at a recent commencement, or you’re starting a new career, and you’ve been in the workforce for a while, but you’re ready for a change, this is the place for you,” Shapiro said. 

The order establishes the Hire, Improve, Recruit, Empower (HIRE) Committee to expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians seeking careers in public service. Chaired by Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver and other cabinet secretaries, the committee will work to strengthen the commonwealth’s recruitment, development and retention of high-performing employees, the administration said in a statement. 

Shapiro said the committee would also build on an earlier executive order that instructed state agencies to emphasize experience rather than requirements such as a college degree in hiring.

The HIRE Committee will work with the administration and state agencies to: 

  • Develop a pilot program and financial incentives to recruit workers who speak languages other than English
  • Build creative recruitment strategies for the state’s hardest-to-fill jobs.
  • Establish mentorship and networking program for recently discharged veterans entering or returning to state jobs.
  • Collaborate with the PA Reentry Council to promote pathways to state employment for recently incarcerated people
  • Direct an accessibility study of the state Capitol Complex to improve mobility for people with disabilities
  • Expand childcare options in state-owned buildings
  • Expand the availability of menstrual products in state building restrooms
  • Widen pathways to state employment for individuals with disabilities
  • And give state employees notice that they can use sick leave to prioritize mental health

Weaver noted that the nearly 18,000 employees eligible to retire in the next five years would take decades of experience and institutional knowledge with them.

“This means we need to do everything we can right now to attract the best and the brightest to public service to leave the Commonwealth into the future. When you get hired with the Commonwealth, you take the first step to opening the doors of opportunity,” Weaver said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.