A diverse group of healthcare, banking, utilities, manufacturers and distribution companies represent the city of Akron's top employers. From medicine and hospital services to jewelry and banking, these largest firms demonstrate the kind of corporate citizenship that would be the envy of any community. Since its former honor as the Rubber Capital of the World, Akron has advanced the world of liquid crystal and polymer research, development and technology. More than 400 companies in the area are working on one aspect or another of polymers, creating what is now known as The Polymer Valley.
The University of Akron supports the industry with a Faculty of Polymer Engineering and a specialized laboratory and research center that can be accessed by business partners in the Akron area. The City of Akron offers companies the opportunity to apply real estate property taxes to an improvement in public infrastructure that will directly benefit the company. 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, the export of Ohio-produced products, and the flexibility of production 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, and the physical presentation and security of the area. The restoration project has included the adaptive reuse of large, unoccupied businesses in the district; some examples include the Roetzel & Andress Office Center (which provides 85,000 square feet of commercial space and 100,000 square feet of office space to the city center) and Advanced Elastomer Systems (now located in buildings 40 and 41 of the B. F.
Goodrich complex). New companies established in the Akron area include headquarters for Newell Rubbermaid and Neighborhood Development Corporation, L'Oreal Cosmetics, Feature Foods, Lockheed-Martin, RJS Manufacturing, 24 Brown Street Corporation, Spectrum Brands and Includis Manufacturing Software. Akron businesses have a variety of options when it comes to shipping 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 was site first lighter-than-air aircraft has four paved runways can accommodate all types private single-engine multi-engine aircraft while 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. And state highways intersect Akron providing easy access from all parts country all Interstates 71 76 77 pass through city bypass roads have been 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 has 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 from 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...