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Pennsylvania Creates Digital Experience Office for Resident Services

The new Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) is aimed at improving resident services by boosting convenience, accessibility and cohesion across state government digital offerings.

Bryanna Pardoe stands at podium with microphone. American flag hangs on the left. Josh Shapiro stands by her shoulder at the right.
Bryanna Pardoe, inaugural executive director of the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience, (left) and Gov. Josh Shapiro (right), announce the new office.
Pennsylvania is launching — and hiring for — a new digital services office, the governor announced Tuesday in a press event.

The new Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (or CODE PA) is the first of its kind for Pennsylvania. It’s charged with providing residents with more digital alternatives to paper-based processes as well as with making the state’s online services and sites more user-friendly, fast and convenient.

“[Right now] the process is just too cumbersome. There’s also not a level of uniformity between the various agencies when you’re processing an application,” Gov. Josh Shapiro said during the event.

CODE PA will aim to simplify and streamline online processes, including by enabling residents to apply for related services through one application or platform. The office will also look to improve accessibility, by measures such as providing more writing in plain language and more language translations. It will also work on designing for both mobile and desktop channels, among other efforts.

“When you go online, you should be greeted with a website that's super user-friendly: it’s focused on the user experience, the fewest clicks possible to get the answer [or] the result [or through] the application process,” Shapiro said. “It should be available in all sorts of languages. It should work whether you’re on a desktop or on your smartphone. It should be simple.”

By establishing a digital service delivery team, Pennsylvania joins a movement that’s been growing over the past five to 10 years, said U.S. Digital Service Deputy Administrator Cori Zarek during the event.

“Increasingly more states and communities are investing in dedicated units to provide customer experience and service delivery,” Zarek said.

U.S. Digital Service Deputy Administrator Cori Zarek speaks during the announcement. Gov. Shapiro looks on
U.S. Digital Service Deputy Administrator Cori Zarek speaks during the announcement. Gov. Shapiro looks on


Bryanna Pardoe, formerly the director of web and digital experience for Philadelphia-based Main Line Health, will take the helm of the new office on May 15, the state said. Pardoe’s previous work included helping improve the health-care organization’s website accessibility and simplifying how patients schedule appointments.

“I'm excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform how we interact with state government,” Pardoe said.

Pardoe will report to both the CIO and the governor’s director of digital strategy, and her office will stand outside the Office of IT, according to Shapiro’s executive order. The state selected Pardoe after reviewing more than 60 applications, said Neil Weaver, secretary of the Office of Administration, which will house CODE PA.

Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver (center), Gov. Shapiro (right).

Creating this office lets the state meet its needs in-house, which is a cheaper alternative to contracting with third parties or external consultants, Shapiro said. CODE PA is funded through money already available in the budget.

The state is actively working to build out CODE PA’s team. The state is soliciting applications through May 10, and candidates do not need a college degree, Shapiro said. Job seekers can apply at, including for six leadership roles, per the press release: head of user experience; head of front-end development; head of back-end development; head of operations and procurement; head of product management; and head of quality, analytics and infrastructure.

The office’s staff will include data scientists, user experience (UX) designers, software engineers and product managers, Shapiro said. They will handle tasks like coding apps and digital programs, as well as working across agencies and systems to create more comprehensive, user-friendly experiences.


CODE PA intendeds to collaborate with the U.S. Digital Service to ensure that the state’s online offerings “work seamlessly with the federal government,” for programs that involve both levels of government, such as SNAP and WIC, Shapiro said.

Digital experience improvements have become more important as residents increasingly go online to get needs met, Shapiro said. For example, 2022 saw more than 250,000 individuals use the state parks and forests’ digital reservations system, and "nearly half a million" people filed sales tax returns using the state’s online tax hub, per a state press release.

Gov. Shapiro speaks at podium while Sec. Weaver looks on.
Gov. Shapiro speaks while Sec. Weaver looks on.
The digital push, however, shouldn’t sound warning bells for those who prefer in-person services. While the state looks to add digital options for formerly paper-only applications, the new offerings will supplement — not replace — other ways of accessing government, Shapiro said.

According to the state executive order and press release, CODE PA’s efforts will include projects like:

  • “Creating a single, easy-to-use application where residents and businesses can easily apply for and find all of the permits they need for a particular project.”
  • “Building a cross-agency product that allows residents to apply [in one spot] for related benefits that currently” are separated across health, education and human services departments.
  • Digitizing state services so they can be included in a digital ID wallet.
  • Creating a “consistent, secure ID authentication and verification login” to replace the need for residents to have several different login credentials.
Jule Pattison-Gordon is a senior staff writer for Government Technology. She previously wrote for PYMNTS and The Bay State Banner, and holds a B.A. in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon. She’s based outside Boston.