Akron, Ohio is a city that is home to a wide variety of industries and job opportunities. From healthcare and banking to utilities and manufacturers, the city's top employers demonstrate the kind of corporate citizenship that any community would be proud of. Akron is known as The Polymer Valley due to the more than 400 companies in the area that are involved in some aspect of polymer research, development, and technology. The University of Akron has a Faculty of Polymer Engineering and a specialized laboratory and research center that can be accessed by businesses in the area.
The City of Akron also offers companies the opportunity to apply real estate property taxes to an improvement in public infrastructure that will directly benefit them. In addition, businesses that locate or expand to a business area in Akron are eligible for a tax reduction program that reduces taxes on tangible personal property by up to 100 percent for up to 10 years. The state of Ohio encourages the creation of new businesses, the expansion of existing businesses, and the export of Ohio-produced products through a variety of incentive programs. The tax credit for machinery and equipment is based on the amount of a company's investment in the purchase or retrofitting of machinery in an Ohio county during the three years prior to applying for the tax credit and is divided equally over seven years.
A research and development tax credit is offered for machinery and equipment purchased for pure and directed research activities. Manufacturers who put their products into international circulation can capitalize on the export tax credit, which is based on the average increase in export sales over the two years prior to the application for the tax credit. The Brownfields tax credit provides an exemption for private sector companies that rehabilitate and reuse properties that were once considered environmentally contaminated. A refundable job creation tax credit is available for businesses that are located or expand in Ohio; the tax credit can be up to 75 percent for up to 10 years.
The Working Opportunity and Welfare to Work tax credit programs encourage employers to hire people from seven specific groups of potential employees, including food stamp recipients, vocational rehabilitation referrals from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Supplemental Security Income recipients, participants in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and youth ages 18 to 24. Employers can also receive tax breaks to offset training costs for current employees through the Ohio Training Tax Credit Program. The state of Ohio has created the Enterprise Ohio Network of public community colleges and universities that work with businesses and organizations to provide continuing education for employees. The Ohio Training Investment Program offers low-cost training and materials for new or expanding businesses, with an emphasis on employment sectors where training costs are comparatively high. The Summit County Employment Resource Center helps employers with hiring and skill testing for potential employees, customizes on-the-job training for new or reassigned workers, and can advise employers and employees during layoff situations. In an effort to counter the influx of businesses and residents to shopping malls and suburbs, downtown Akron became a Special Improvement District in the mid-1990s.
This designation as a private, nonprofit entity has allowed the city to improve parking and transit services, downtown marketing, business hiring and retention, as well as physical presentation and security of the area. The restoration project has included adaptive reuse of large unoccupied businesses in the district; some examples include Roetzel & Andress Office Center (which provides 85,000 square feet of commercial space and 100,000 square feet of office space) and Advanced Elastomer Systems (now located in buildings 40 and 41 of B. F. Goodrich complex).
New companies established in Akron include Newell Rubbermaid headquarters, Neighborhood Development Corporation, L'Oreal Cosmetics, Feature Foods, Lockheed-Martin, RJS Manufacturing, 24 Brown Street Corporation, Spectrum Brands, Includis Manufacturing Software. Akron businesses have access to a variety of shipping options due to its proximity to major waterways, airports, highways, and rail systems. Akron Fulton Airport located in southeastern corner of township housed original Goodyear airfield site; it has four paved runways accommodating all types private single-engine multi-engine aircrafts. Akron-Canton Airport offers range commercial flight cargo shipping options; airlines include AirTran Delta Frontier Northwest United US Airways Express. More air freight options available 64 kilometers away Cleveland where Cleveland Hopkins International Airport home several airlines including UPS FedEx United States Postal Service. State highways intersecting Akron provide easy access all parts country; all Interstates 71 76 77 pass through city bypass roads created encourage smooth flow traffic.
Local trucking trucking company Roadway Express subsidiary Yellow Roadway Corporation leads field ground transportation network shipping options extends Canada Alaska Hawaii Puerto Rico around world. Akron's industrial history made city magnet many other companies specialize handling transporting variety cargoes; number rail systems also pass through Akron including CSX Norfolk Southern Railroads Great Lakes waterway Cleveland Harbor St Lawrence Seaway connects Akron area Atlantic Ocean providing access Europe Africa South America Australia Asia. Events early 2000s presage manufacturing sector likely suffer more layoffs job losses future; durable goods industries particularly vulnerable due changing economic conditions global competition.