One year ago, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order establishing the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) with the goal of improving online services for Pennsylvanians and streamlining the way residents interact with the Commonwealth online.

In honor of CODE PA’s first birthday, Gov. Shapiro is highlighting the successes of the office, including how it reformed the Commonwealth’s permitting processes and launched a new tool to help Pennsylvanians apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Additionally, the office also launched a new website and internship program to recruit talented young professionals to the Commonwealth.

“Every day, my Administration is working to meet the people of Pennsylvania where they are – both online and in their communities – and CODE PA is proving that there is truly no wrong door to access state government,” said Gov. Shapiro.

“In just one year, CODE PA has brought in some of the most impressive digital leaders from around the state to build a money-back guarantee portal for our permits, licenses, and certificates; create an external review form for denied health insurance claims; build a tool to help applicants for the Property Tax/Rent rebate program find in-person assistance, and so much more. CODE PA is making Pennsylvania state government more accessible, and their success is testament of what we can do when we invest in our digital services and think creatively to ensure we’re serving the people of Pennsylvania,” he added.

In terms of successes, the governor’s office said the new office has “already made significant strides to improve and modernize Commonwealth websites and digital services and help Pennsylvanians connect with the resources the Commonwealth provides.” Specifically, the office has:

  • Built an experienced leadership team to reimagine Pennsylvania’s digital service delivery;
  • Launched Payback, an online money-back guarantee system to bring increased accountability and transparency to Commonwealth permitting, licensing, and certification processes;
  • Launched an external review process and new website for Pennsylvanians to appeal denied health plan services; and
  • Launched a new online tool to help property tax/rent rebate applicants find in-person assistance.

Additionally, CODE PA is also launching a new summer internship program for undergraduate students who are interested in careers in user experience (UX) design. The governor’s office noted that the interns will work to inventory and evaluate existing online forms and gather input through interviews and focus groups to make them more accessible and user-friendly.

“Pennsylvania is one of just a few states with an in-house digital services team like CODE PA – and our goal since day one has been to transform how Pennsylvanians interact with state government by making their digital experiences easier and more accessible,” said Bry Pardoe, CODE PA executive director. “Over time, we hope that CODE PA can be a model and resource to the larger civic tech community across the nation that has given us so much support over the past year to be able to do this amazing work.”

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