The Chamber of Commerce regularly checks on the needs of businesses and makes recommendations to technical schools and colleges which continually update the programs and assures today's students are prepared to enter the labor force.
In addition to the Chamber of Commerce taking an interest in the school system, local businesses participate in a program called "Adopt-a-School" through Junior Achievement. This prepares and enriches students for active participation in the business world and teaches them the basics of the free enterprise system.
McMinn County is home to three public schools systems: McMinn County, Athens City and Etowah City, as well as private church-sponsored schools, Tennessee Wesleyan College and other schools of higher education.
The Athens City School System is operated by the city Board of Education. There are five schools in the Athens City School System - City Park and Ingleside Schools for students in Pre-K through second grades; North City and Westside Schools for third through fifth grades; and Athens City Middle School for sixth through eighth grades. The System also operates a camp at Watts Bar Lake, Camp Oo-Tah-Nee-Noh-Chee, which students in grades four through eight visit for both day trips and overnight stays. All five schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The McMinn County School System has seven elementary schools located throughout the county, two high schools and a vocational school.
Cleveland State Community College is a fully-accredited public comprehensive two-year community college operating within the governance of the Tennessee Board of Regents and approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Cleveland State Community College has an Athens campus located on 2580 Ingleside Avenue.
Founded in 1857, Tennessee Wesleyan College is a private, four year, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Tennessee Wesleyan has over 850 students and maintains a 12-to-1 student faculty ratio that ensures each student receives personal involvement from classroom instructors. TWC offers a demanding curriculum which emphasizes critical thought and scholarship beyond the narrow confines of the classroom. Tennessee Wesleyan believes its students value the friendly atmosphere, small classes and moderate costs.
McMinn County also has an Educaton Foundation (www.mcminncef.org) which has numerous programs to support our young people. One of the those programs, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, will help children learn how to read. Every child from birth until their fifth birthday will receive a book in the mail each month. To find out more, go to the website at www.imaginationlibrary.com.