Josh Shapiro Releases New Plan to Expand Pennsylvania’s Workforce, Address Labor Shortages, & Invest in Pennsylvania Workers - Shapiro For Governor
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April 21, 2022Press Releases

Josh Shapiro Releases New Plan to Expand Pennsylvania’s Workforce, Address Labor Shortages, & Invest in Pennsylvania Workers


Thursday, April 21, 2022


SPA Press,


Josh Shapiro Releases New Plan to Expand Pennsylvania’s Workforce, Address Labor Shortages, & Invest in Pennsylvania Workers

Plan calls for eliminating four-year degree requirements for state government jobs, reinvesting in apprenticeships and career and technical education, and cutting occupational licensing fees.

PENNSYLVANIA – Today, in Pittsburgh, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced his plan to address persistent labor shortages by expanding the Commonwealth’s workforce and giving Pennsylvania workers more opportunities to succeed. This comes after Shapiro has spent weeks traveling all across the Commonwealth discussing his plan to cut taxes and put money back in Pennsylvanians’ pockets.

For the past two years, labor shortages have held Pennsylvania’s economy back – 54 percent of manufacturing businesses report having trouble finding skilled workers and companies across the Commonwealth are still struggling to fill job openings. To get Pennsylvania’s economy moving again, Josh Shapiro will focus on lowering taxes, investing in our workforce, and cutting red tape that slows progress.

Today, Shapiro is proposing a multi-pronged plan to increase the Commonwealth’s investment in job skills training and vocational training programs, and remove unnecessary barriers preventing workers from supporting themselves and their families.

“We need to give Pennsylvania workers the opportunity to succeed, and that means giving every Pennsylvanian access to apprenticeships and vocational and technical training, cutting red tape for workers and business, and removing unnecessary barriers so more qualified workers can get hired,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Every Pennsylvanian deserves the opportunity to chart their own course and find a good-paying, stable job that allows them to support themselves and their family. As Governor, I’ll get Pennsylvania’s economy moving by cutting taxes, addressing labor shortages, expanding our workforce, and giving our businesses and our workers more chances to succeed.”

Josh’s plan calls for cutting red tape that holds Pennsylvanians back – like eliminating four-year degree requirements for thousands of state government jobs and giving all students access to Career Technical Centers – so that more qualified workers are able to access good-paying jobs and the Commonwealth can address persistent labor shortages.

Josh’s plan also calls for significant investment in job and skills training programs, like apprenticeship programs and career and technical education. This plan would triple state funding for apprenticeships and reinvest in career and technical education, so that more Pennsylvanians are able to learn advanced skills and find jobs in technical or high-skill industries like manufacturing, construction, and health care.

Josh’s plan to expand Pennsylvania’s workforce, attract new businesses to the Commonwealth, and give workers the tools they need to succeed includes:

Tripling the amount of funding available for apprenticeship programs.

Apprentices earn about $300,000 (including benefits) more over their lifetime compared to similar workers who did not complete apprenticeships, and every $1 invested in apprenticeships returns about $27 in revenue to the Commonwealth. As Governor, Josh will expand apprenticeships so that Pennsylvania workers can earn more and succeed throughout their careers.

Drastically increasing career and technical training by ensuring high school students have access to workforce opportunities.

In the past two decades, Pennsylvania has cut investment in vocational and technical training in half — today, Pennsylvania spends around $90 million on vocational and technical education and 20 years ago, the Commonwealth spent over $200 million. As Governor, Josh will direct the State Board of Education to bake career and technical training into the curriculum so that high school students can learn and be trained in the jobs of tomorrow – and be empowered to make career choices that are right for them.

Expanding Pennsylvania’s industry partnership grants to improve recruiting and workforce development.

Josh Shapiro will support long-term employment opportunities by expanding grants for Pennsylvania businesses that work within their industry to hire and train workers. Shapiro will streamline recruitment and workforce development efforts by creating a one-stop shop for businesses and industry partners to support job fairs, conferences, and internships for high school students – an independent Office of Workforce Development. This will break through the bureaucracy, improve businesses’ recruitment efforts, and create real job opportunities for Pennsylvanians.​​

Eliminating four-year degree requirements for thousands of state government jobs.

Every worker should have the opportunity to succeed, no matter their level of education, and Josh knows that eliminating this unnecessary requirement will open up thousands of jobs to qualified applicants across the Commonwealth. As Governor, Josh will direct state agencies to conduct a review of all job prerequisites and remove degree requirements for state jobs that are clearly unnecessary and serve as a barrier. Last month, Maryland became the first state to eliminate this requirement, opening thousands of jobs to additional applicants; Pennsylvania should be next.

Eliminating occupational licensing fees and ensuring applicants receive an answer within 14 days to give more Pennsylvanians the chance to pursue their careers.

Currently, there are over 250 licenses and credentials overseen by 29 independent licensing boards and commissions in the Commonwealth, including some that cost hundreds of dollars every time an individual has to renew their license. Josh will eliminate those fees and ensure that any application that does not require a criminal background check be completed within 14 days. No one should be prevented from becoming their community’s next barber, social worker, or electrician because they can’t afford the licensing fee. Pennsylvanians work hard – and Josh Shapiro believes the government should too in order to get people into the workforce as quickly as possible.

As Governor, Josh Shapiro will prioritize growing Pennsylvania’s economy, ensuring our Commonwealth is open for businesses, and creating opportunities for workers. Shapiro will get to work on day one — cutting red tape in order to help workers have access to more good paying jobs, and lowering taxes so that more businesses can thrive right here in Pennsylvania. In the coming weeks, Attorney General Shapiro will continue traveling the Commonwealth discussing and unveiling his plans to grow Pennsylvania’s economy as Governor by cutting costs for business and expanding our workforce.