Governor Josh Shapiro’s 10-year state Economic Development Strategy, which he unveiled on January 30, 2024, followed by his 2024-25 Budget Proposal, emphasizes the leading role the life sciences sector will continue to play in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s future and includes investments in economic development, job creation, and innovation.

Created with the Commonwealth’s Department of Community and Economic Development, the strategy, which is available to read in full at www.PAGetsItDone.com, capitalizes on the state’s strengths. The plan specifically emphasizes five defined high-growth, high-value sectors where Pennsylvania already holds a profound competitive advantage and can expect significant potential for growth in the next 10 years:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Energy
  3. Life Sciences
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Robotics and Technology

“This is great news for our region, which leads in the life sciences industry and specialized subsectors, including cell and gene therapy,” said Chellie Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber). “The Governor’s economic development strategy serves as a needed blueprint for inclusive growth throughout the Greater Philadelphia region and the Commonwealth, creating jobs, spurring innovation, and growing opportunities. We stand ready to work together with the Shapiro Administration, General Assembly, and our business community to strengthen our competitive position in the global economy,” she said. Read the Chamber’s full statement here.

Five Steps to Grow PA’s Economy

The Economic Development Plan sets five strategic goals:

  1. Invest in our economic growth to compete.
    • Accelerate Pennsylvania’s job growth rate, becoming a top 15 state in job creation
  2. Make government work at the speed of business.
    • Become a Top 10 state for business
  3. Open doors of opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.
    • Become a Top 10 state in median wage growth
  4. Innovate to win.
    • Increase the number of startups in high-growth industries by 1,100 over 10 years, bringing the share of startups from 6.6% to 10%; become a leader among peer states for entrepreneurial growth
  5. Build vibrant and resilient regions.
    • Achieve equitable regional growth and increase job creation, wages, and labor force participation in every region of the Commonwealth

Valuing Life Sciences

The plan emphasizes life sciences, along with the other priority sectors, reflecting its historical and economic significance. As noted on www.PAGetsItDone.com, “Valued at nearly $50 billion, Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry thrives on the foundation of world-class R&D institutions, top-tier universities, and cutting-edge incubators. That’s why we’re known across the globe as a hub for life sciences – particularly in high-growth clusters like cell and gene therapy in Southeast Pennsylvania.”

The plan also states that, “From technology to life sciences and beyond, thriving Pennsylvania companies are the driving force behind big plans that shape our future. Our businesses are powered by our 6.5-million-strong workforce, world-class higher education institutions, and targeted workforce development programs that fill our resilient talent pipelines.”

Supporting Site Development, Workforce Development, and Regional Growth

The Shapiro Administration said the Governor’s $48.3 billion budget proposal acts as a strong call for partners across all sectors to support the plan, including the following:

  • $500 million to support commercial and industrial site development
  • $25 million for the Main Street Matters program supporting small businesses and commercial corridors
  • $20 million to support large-scale innovation
  • $18 million increase in funding for tourism and business marketing
  • $3.5 million to launch regional challenge planning grants to address revitalization, infrastructure, or housing issues
  • $2 million for Career Connect program to connect workers with employers through apprenticeships, internships, and job training

The Chamber’s Ask of the Life Sciences Community

You can link to the Economic Development Strategy’s section on the life sciences industry here. The Chamber looks forward to amplifying the life sciences focus of the plan, convening, and collaborating with the regional life sciences community to drive impact.

Here is what you can do to support the Economic Development Strategy:

  • Read the full plan at PAGetsItDone.com.
  • Amplify it via your professional networks.
  • Consult the strategy when planning future business investments and activities.
  • Advance the priorities through collaboration.
  • Lend your voice to our statewide advocacy.

And help us amplify important Chamber initiatives that support the life sciences sector and workforce development:

  • Utilize Select Greater Philadelphia’s website and follow our social media channels.
  • Learn more about the Chamber’s talent work, including our collaboration on workforce development programs that support and cultivate regional talent. Consider how you might be part of a regional workforce development partnership.
  • Share the talent stories featured in the Discovery Starts with Me video series, which spotlights the region’s life sciences talent, and nominate an employee to participate.
  • Subscribe to the Chamber’s Momentum newsletter, which features important business news and trends impacting our region.

For more information on working with the Chamber to amplify the Shapiro Administration’s Economic Development Plan, and Chamber Initiatives that support the region’s life sciences sector and workforce development activities, contact Bryan Tsao, Ph.D., Manager, Life Science & Healthcare Initiatives, at [email protected].