State of Ohio Approves Tax Break for Ball Corp. – State officials have approved tax breaks that will help Ball Corp. expand its local operations and create up to 100 additional jobs. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 50 percent, six-year job-creation tax credit for Ball Metal Food Container, formerly Phoenix Packaging Corp. New jobs created by the tax breaks should generate $5 million in annual payroll, while retaining $4.67 million in existing payroll, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. The company hopes to begin hiring workers next year, when the expansion is completed, a company spokeswoman said in an email. State officials said the tax credit covers Ball Metal’s facilities at 2121 Warner Road SE in Canton and 3075 Brookline Road in Green. Ball employs 113 people at those sites. Meanwhile, Canton City Council has approved an enterprise zone agreement giving Ball Metal a 10-year, 75 percent real estate property tax exemption for the Warner Road SE facility. The city’s agreement would supplement the state’s tax credits. According to a letter filed with council, Ball Metal plans a $32 million project to expand and install new equipment at the Canton site. Ball wants to install a production line to cut, coat and paint steel coils for food and aerosol cans. Ball is based in Broomfield, Colorado. To read more about Ball Corp’s expansion, click on this Canton Repository article.

Mount Union Engineering Programs Earn ABET Accreditation - The University of Mount Union’s civil and mechanical engineering programs have received accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. “Mount Union’s engineering faculty members have worked tirelessly to establish and maintain quality standards for our mechanical and civil engineering programs since they were established in the fall of 2010, and earning accreditation is an important milestone for these programs,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. “This national accomplishment places Mount Union on the map as a competitive engineering school with high quality programs.” University president Dick Merriman stated, “ABET accreditation is the gold standard in engineering education. Congratulations to the engineering faculty and Dr. Patricia Draves for this notable achievement.” In order to be evaluated by ABET, Mount Union had to first graduate at least one class of engineering students. The first class of students graduated in 2014, and the accreditation process began as soon as the program was eligible last fall. To date, job placement rate for Mount Union engineering graduates is 100%. The university’s accreditation is retroactive, meaning all previous graduates have earned degrees from an accredited engineering institution. One reason ABET accreditation is important is that some companies only hire graduates from accredited engineering schools. In addition, grads from accredited engineering programs are eligible to sit for engineering licensure exams. To receive accreditation, an institution must have qualified faculty members in place, proper laboratories and facilities for teaching, and a continuous improvement process within the engineering curriculum. Accredited institutions must establish successful student outcomes and assess that graduates have successfully learned the material they have been taught. ABET is a non-profit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. According to the organization’s website, ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates. To read more about the University of Mount Union’s engineering program click here.

Special Meeting at the University of Akron – On Oct. 14, Steve Paquette, CEO of the Stark Development Board, was able to meet and help welcome Mario Garzia, Ph.D., back to Northeast Ohio. He is the newly hired Executive Director for the Center for Data Sciences and Information Technology for the University of Akron. Mr. Garzia is a former executive and partner with Microsoft and is an alumnus of the University of Akron and Case Western University. His goal is to help turn the new center into the go-to place for students wanting to pursue degrees in IT, particularly in “big data.” Also participating in the meeting were Lawrence Burns, VP for Student Advancement for the university; Robert Cooper, Director of CBRE in Akron and currently serving as a consultant for the U of A; William Koehler, President of Team NEO; and Rick Rebadow, Executive VP for the Greater Akron Chamber. The goal is to seek active support from companies and business executives in Akron, Canton and Northeast Ohio by introducing them to the university's new center and educating them about what it offers. The Greater Akron Chamber, Team Neo and Stark Development Board see this as an opportunity to help the region build a new pipeline of talented students in IT to help serve the future needs of our companies and to help attract new companies to Northeast Ohio. We are also working with Dr. Para Jones to host Mr. Garzia and Mr. Burns on a visit and tour of Stark State College as well.

New Stark Development Board Website Goes Live – Stark Development Board (SDB) has launched an entirely redesigned, mobile-friendly website at www.starkcoohio.com. The site offers a comprehensive overview of Stark County and SDB’s economic development efforts to retain, expand and attract business interests in the area.

The website, which is fully searchable, includes in-depth sections on Stark County statistics, communities, educational institutions, business financing and site listings of industrial buildings, land/industrial parks and service sector properties. It also includes a media gallery with videos and photos of recent economic developments and a business news section that will be continually updated.

“We are quite pleased with the new site—it is mobile friendly and designed to be viewable on screens of all shapes and sizes,” said Steve Paquette, SDB president and CEO. “I like it because it tells a story about Stark County as an emerging center of advanced manufacturing and technology-driven industries.”

The website was created using an open-source content management system that features the latest web technologies and can be easily updated to keep the site fresh and current. The site was developed by Covey-Odell Advertising of North Canton.

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