Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger on Wednesday said he’s “energized and ready to get to work” following a visit to local renewable energy company, Endless Energy, where he spoke about DCED and Gov. Josh Shapiro’s new statewide Economic Development Strategy.
The 10-year plan, which is the first of its kind in nearly two decades, was unveiled on Jan. 30 and will focus on economic growth across the state with the goal of strengthening communities, enabling family-sustaining job creation and encouraging innovation.
The Shapiro Administration already got a head start on this plan this past year, securing $1.2 billion in private sector investment and reducing the time it takes to get a business licence in the state from 8 weeks to just three days.
Siger’s visit to Wilkes-Barre occurred just one day after Gov. Shapiro announced the proposed state budget, which calls for significant investments to support this Economic Development Plan, including $25 million for Main Street Matters to support small businesses as well as $20 million to support innovation.
During his remarks on Wednesday, Siger said that, “based on rigorous analysis of data based on countless conversations with businesses and others across Pennsylvania,” he and his team identified five key sectors to focus resources on: Agriculture, Energy, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, and Robotics and Technology.
Siger also highlighted some of the investments Shapiro called for including his personal favorite: a $3.5 million program that would, if passed by the legislature, create and launch a regional competitiveness challenge to empower regions and incentivize regional growth.
“These combined investments will propel us up the ranks in business competitiveness, and more importantly create jobs and opportunities for Pennsylvania,” Siger said.
Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, applauded Gov. Shapiro for “investing in the people of Pennsylvania.”
“He believes in the talents of Pennsylvania on every single level, from a solid work ethic to the drive of small business, to a higher education, to make sure we prepare our own Pennsylvania students for the 21st century and beyond,” said Pashinski.
Following his remarks, Siger said that he believes the DCED has a strong plan and looks forward to continuing implementing it.
“It gives us a chance to compete at a whole new level with the surrounding states. It’s about competition, it’s about job creation, quality job creation, to make sure, frankly, that the citizens of PA have the competitive government that they deserve.”
Read more in the Times Leader.