Akron and a handful of other Northeast Ohio sites are among 67 nationwide under consideration to become new homes for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in a news release Tuesday.
The list was pared down from 136 communities that submitted expressions of interest as announced in an October USDA release.
Northeast Ohio is the only part of the state to make the first cut; localities that made the list of 67 include Akron/Summit County, Portage County/Brimfield Township, Twinsburg, Streetsboro, Geauga County and Middlefield Village (Geauga County). Northeast Ohio localities eliminated were Youngstown, Warren and Madison Village (Lake County). Darke County in western Ohio also was eliminated.
Sites still in the running face a rigorous selection process, the USDA said.
“USDA will make the best choice for our employees and customers,” Perdue said in the news release. “Relocation will help ensure that USDA is the most effective, most efficient, and most customer-focused agency in the federal government, allowing us to be closer to our stakeholders and move our resources closer to our customers.”
Some of the factors that will be taken into consideration include travel requirements, labor force statistics and work hours most compatible with all USDA office schedules. Perdue announced the plan to move the offices outside of the Washington area in August and set a goal of relocating them by the end of 2019. He said in October that 91 percent of USDA’s approximately 108,000 employees currently work outside the U.S. capital.