Governor Josh Shapiro discusses recruitment efforts with nursing students at Gwynedd Mercy University

Governor Josh Shapiro recently met with student nurses at Gwynedd Mercy University to speak with them about the challenges they face and his budget proposals to invest in public health. The proposals intend to recruit more nurses, police officers, and teachers to fill critical frontline jobs.

“Nurses save lives every single day across our Commonwealth, but we’re facing a real crisis right now – a critical shortage of nurses in our hospitals and clinics,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “When we don’t have enough nurses to cover our communities, that puts an even greater burden on the nurses who are on the front lines every day keeping our families and our communities healthy. We need more nurses to join their ranks and ease that burden – so my budget is going to make it a little easier to become a nurse in Pennsylvania.”

“This bold initiative recognizes the very real need to attract and retain more highly qualified nursing professionals in PA,” said Gwynedd Mercy University President Deanne D’Emilio. “We are grateful for the Governor’s commitment to strengthening the workforce in the Commonwealth and we are delighted to be part of the solution to this pressing need.” 

In 2021, more than 1 in 4 nursing positions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were unfilled. Over the last 3 years, vacancy rates for registered nurses and nurse practitioners have increased by 10 percent.

To address workforce shortages, Governor Shapiro’s budget invests $24.7 million in job retention and recruitment efforts to specifically attract more nurses, police officers, and teachers, proposing a refundable tax credit for new workers in those fields and putting up to $2,500 back in their pocket every year for up to three years. 

Governor Shapiro’s budget also:

  • Invests $500 million over the next 5 years to increase mental health support in schools, increases funding for county mental health services, and provides dedicated funding for the 988 crisis hotline.
  • Raises the minimum SNAP benefit in Pennsylvania from $23 per month to $35 per month and provides universal free breakfast in schools to help fight hunger in our communities.
  • Devotes $2.3 million towards implementation of prevention strategies to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
  • Fully funds PA’s County-Municipal Health Departments and invests $6.61 million in environmental health.
  • Invests $17.6 million to reduce the waitlist for home and community-based services for hundreds of Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and/or autism.