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With more than 600 jobs to fill, Gov. Shapiro intends to change how Pa. hires

A group of men in suits stand behind a table with a blue tablecloth reading "Governor Josh Shapiro."
Commonwealth Media Services
Commonwealth Media Services
Gov. Josh Shapiro signs Executive Order 2024-01, which establishes the Hire, Improve, Recruit, Empower (HIRE) Committee.

Neisser Ribera is the son of an immigrant.

From a young age, he was always interested in technology. Throughout high school, he worked two jobs — web intern and restaurant host — “constantly moving between cleaning maple syrup from tables and writing code,” he said.

After graduating from Dauphin County Technical School, he joined the state Office of Administration as an IT apprentice.

“I believe the commonwealth is a place where you can build yourself up to be the person you’ve always wanted to be,” he said.

To help people like Ribera, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order Monday to increase access to public service jobs.

“We need more young people like Neisser to join our team,” he said.

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The order creates the Hire, Improve, Recruit, Empower Committee, or HIRE Committee. It will consist of 11 members from the administration and will make recommendations to the Office of Administration about hiring and recruiting.

It also calls on the Office of Administration to, among other things, implement a pilot program to create financial incentives for multilingual employees and affirm the state can hire non-US citizens if they are authorized to work in the United States.

And to make government work more competitive for women in the job market, the order directs the Department of General Services to expand the availability of free menstrual products at state-owned facilities.

Mike Sukal with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees praised the efforts within the order.

“They fall directly in line with our union’s goals in the last set of contract negotiations and AFSCME’s national Staff the Front Lines initiative,” he said.

Republican House Appropriations Chair Seth Grove said the order is positive but lacks a full view of the issues.

The representative from York County said Shapiro should review the “Back to Basics” bill package offered by House Republicans, which looks at areas where, they say, the government is failing.

“If the Governor were serious about ‘getting *stuff* done’ to expand our Commonwealth’s workforce, he would have included a requirement for state agency coordination, by connecting individuals that are unemployed or underemployed to Commonwealth employment,” Grove said in a statement.

The state government – second only to the federal government as the largest employer in Pennsylvania – has more than 600 job openings.