Governor Shapiro Keeps Commitment to Improve Commonwealth’s Permitting, Licensing, and Certification Processes and Make Government Work Faster for Pennsylvanians
October 26, 2023
The Shapiro Administration ordered a comprehensive review of the more than 2,400 licenses, permits, and certifications issued by the Commonwealth as one of his first actions in office to deliver real results and make government work faster.
The Shapiro Administration has already eliminated the Medicaid provider application backlog, reduced the processing time for new in-state teacher certifications, reduced the average time to process new business applications, and more.
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, and Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid Mumin, visited Sola Salon Studios in Harrisburg to highlight significant improvements to the Commonwealth’s permitting, licensing, and certification processes. Local business owner Aileen Geronimo, Penn State University Harrisburg Chair of Teacher Education Dr. Jane Wilburne, and registered nurse Eric Diehl joined the Governor and Administration officials to share their experiences working with the Commonwealth on business, teacher, and nursing certifications.
In his first month in office, Governor Shapiro signed an Executive Order directing all state agencies to compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates, and permits they administer – including the length of time it takes them to process applications and the application fee charged by each agency – with the goal of transforming how the Commonwealth delivers vital services, issues certifications to combat workforce shortages, and supports entrepreneurs who want to start businesses.
Within 90 days of signing that Executive Order, every agency under the Governor’s jurisdiction catalogued all 2,400 total permits, licenses and certifications issued by the Commonwealth for the first time ever. The Shapiro Administration is now in the process of reviewing every single permit, license, and certification and setting guaranteed timelines Pennsylvanians can rely on.
Since that Executive Order was signed, the Shapiro Administration has been working to help businesses and workers from across Pennsylvania receive faster and more efficient service from the Commonwealth and has already made real progress:
- The Department of Human Services announced in June that it completely eliminated a backlog of Medicaid provider enrollment and revalidation applications from more than 35,000 provider applications and revalidation applications that were more than 30 days old in January 2023.
- The Department of Health announced in July that it completelyeliminated the birth certificate amendment requests backlog. In January 2023 when Governor Josh Shapiro took office, the backlog stood at 6,200 requests.
- The Department of Education (PDE) has reduced the time it takes to process new in-state teacher certifications to just 2-3 weeks.
- The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) has reduced the average phone wait time for Unemployment Compensation (UC) assistance to 17 minutes – down from over one hour in January 2023. L&I is also answering UC LiveChat questions in real time with no wait.
- The Department of State has reduced the average processing times for business and corporate filings from eight weeks to just 3 days.
- The Department of General Services has reduced the time it takes to certify a small business from 15 days to 10 days – a 33% reduction.
“When I took office in January, I made a promise to build an Administration that works effectively and efficiently to create real opportunities for Pennsylvanians. In January, my Administration set in motion a plan to review every single license, permit, and certification administered by agencies under my jurisdiction with the goal of giving Pennsylvanians a reliable process they can count on every time they need one of these crucial documents,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Since I signed that executive order in January, we have made significant progress. Just by starting the review process and looking closely at what it takes to apply for a license, permit, or certification and putting real resources into speeding that up, we’ve been able to eliminate backlogs and cut down wait times across the board. We’re helping entrepreneurs start small businesses. We’re delivering teacher certifications and nursing licenses faster to help combat workforce shortages in our schools and our hospitals. We’re delivering vital services like unemployment compensation faster. Together, we’re delivering real change that makes a real difference in lives all across the Commonwealth.”
The Department of State (DOS) has also reduced the average processing times for business and corporate filings from eight weeks to just 3 days as of October 20 to support Pennsylvania business owners like Aileen Geronimo, owner of Lazuli Hair Studio in Harrisburg. Geronimo received an expedited business license this year in just one day thanks to the changes made at DOS to better support Pennsylvania business owners who want to pursue their dreams.
“I filled out my forms on June 19th and paid my fee – and on June 23rd I received notice saying my business was approved. I opened Lazuli Hair Studio on July 5th of this year. It took me two and a half months to start my business. In the past, future business owners had to wait 8 weeks to have their business licenses approved, which can slow down the momentum in the business building process,” said Aileen Geronimo. “Now, thanks to Governor Shapiro’s help, the process is quick and easy so that new business owners can keep moving to get funding, retail space, and just do business. Thank you, Governor Shapiro, for making the process quicker so that many can make their dreams a reality.”
Governor Shapiro also created the Office of Transformation and Opportunity (OTO) – a one-stop-shop for businesses that want to grow in Pennsylvania – to grow Pennsylvania’s economy and provide faster, more efficient customer service to Pennsylvanians. The OTO is helping to review, analyze, and establish efficient application processing times for all occupational permits or licenses based on agency recommendations to help improve how government works and create economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.
“As the Governor said, he previously unveiled this initiative earlier this year one week into office. I was proud to stand with him that day to launch this initiative – and I’m even prouder to stand here today to talk about the initial results as we look forward to what’s yet to come,” said Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. “People have been talking about licensing reform for years, but it was not until the Governor and this Administration took this initiative forward. I’m glad they’re addressing it. This is vitally important to making Pennsylvania more competitive.”
The Shapiro Administration is currently finalizing work to set up a money-back guarantee system and set deadlines for each permit, and the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) is in the process of reviewing the existing digital services that Pennsylvanians use to apply for licenses, certificates, and permits and is working to modernize those application platforms and services to better serve Pennsylvanians.
For more information on the Shapiro Administration’s efforts to cut red tape and make government more effective and efficient, visit pa.gov/cuttingredtape.