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Erie, PA

Erie PA seal
Erie, PA

Primary Objective

Digitize the process for becoming an Erie firefighter to increase convenience of applying and better diversify the applicant pool. 


The city’s existing application was only available to prospective firefighters who were able to visit city hall and apply in person. When Erie was first considering making the firefighter application digital, they had a few initial concerns:

  1. Would there be both an online and paper application available?  
  2. If online only, would anyone be excluded?
  3. Would applicants’ information be secure?
  4. How easy would it be for applicants and city employees reviewing applications to use?

We wanted to update city hall technology, streamline and automate processes, modernize our website, and create a city hall culture based on helping residents. We’re committed to being open, honest, transparent and accessible.

Joe Schember
Mayor of Erie, PA


Erie decided to offer a fully digital application for prospective firefighters.. This digital application saved time and resources. For the few people who might not have internet/computer access, the city set up a computer station in city hall dedicated to applicants for the firefighter positions. The station was located in Human Resources (HR), so applicants could get questions answered immediately.  

Digitizing the firefighter application workflow was a huge success. Erie saw a 30% increase in application volume (and, because the city charges a small fee for the application approval process, a 30% increase in application revenue.)  

Applicants didn’t have to be physically present in Erie, and could apply 24/7 using their phone or a desktop computer. This contributed to an applicant pool that was drawn from across the region and was more diverse than in previous years, helping the city reach its recruiting goals. The digital application was more appealing and convenient for applicants because ClearForms lets people start, pause, and resume the same application, which came in handy given all the documentation and information required. Applicants could also track their application’s progress and have a direct line of communication with the reviewer with ClearForm’s discussion feature.

In order to make sure the application on ClearForms was easy for applicants to complete and for city staff to manage, the HR team, along with the fire department and mayor’s office staff, tested and revised the application before launch. Staff got comfortable using the “smart” dashboard, and quickly realized that they could process more applications in less time than when things were on paper. Applicants and staff both gave the ClearForms process rave reviews.

Check out all of Erie’s workflows on ClearForms here.

March 23, 2023

Matt Benati

Matt Benati is Vice President of Marketing for ClearGov®, the leading provider of Budget Cycle Management software for local governments. Matt is passionate about helping organizations modernize their annual budgeting process by automating workflow, increasing collaboration, and improving transparency between governments and citizens.

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