Industrial services assistance is available
to businesses looking to locate in McMinn County as well as local industries
wanting to expand. No matter what size business or the items manufactured,
you can count on assistance from the McMinn County Economic Development Authority.
Additional assistance is available from the
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the University
of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services - the industrial extension
program of the University's Institute for Public Service. The Center for
Industrial Services strengthens the competitiveness of Tennessee
manufacturers by helping them:
Develop new products;
Access technology and research;
Electricity, natural gas, water and sewer
services are all available from local municipal and cooperative utilities
in McMinn County. Most utilities offer discount programs to major industrial
Power for McMinn County and the entire
region is produced by the Tennessee Valley Authority which operates several
hydroelectric dams in the area. The Watts Bar hydroelectrical plant, and the nearby
Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, produces
much of the power consumed in McMinn County.
Three utilities - Athens Utilities Board,
Etowah Utilities Board and Volunteer Electric Cooperative - provide power
distribution in McMinn County. All three agencies provide Economic Surplus
Power, or ESP. The program allows significantly reduced power rates to
industries that are able to curtail power usage on notice.
Athens, Etowah and Englewood provide natural
gas service to residential, commercial and industrial customers. Both Athens
and Etowah market natural gas outside their cities' corporate limits.
Water and sanitary sewer service is provided
in Athens, Etowah, Englewood and Niota. Water service only is provided by
Calhoun. Most municipal utilities provide water service outside of their
corporate limits. Other unincorporated areas are served by utility districts.
The Hiwassee Utilities District, which was
formed by a joint effort of local governments in McMinn and Bradley counties,
wholesales potable water to several area utilities either as a primary supplier
or as a reserve supply.
McMinn County works with local utilities and
residents to acquire grant funds and extend water lines into areas in the
county not served by the municipalities.
Training for workers is available at a variety
of levels, including high schools, on-the-job programs, vocational centers,
community colleges and universities. Whatever specialized needs your industry
might have, state and local governments are willing to assist in helping find
avenues of workforce training.
The Federal Workforce Investment Act program
is administered locally by Cleveland State Community College and works closely
with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide jobs and
educational opportunities. Through the program, employers are paid a portion
of a training wage if they agree to hire and train workers.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development serves as a screening
agency for Job Corps, a work training program designed for 16- to 21-year-olds
who are economically disadvantaged or handicapped. The department also provides
state-wide listings of jobs and administers the unemployment insurance program
in McMinn and Meigs counties.
The Tennessee Technology Center at Athens
provides valued skills training in several job fields and offers evening and
day classes. Courses of study at the school include auto body and mechanics,
drafting, electronics, machine shop, practical nursing, business systems
technology and welding.
Many industrial support services can be
found locally or within the Interstate 75 corridor from Knoxville to Chattanooga.
Tool and die, foundry, heavy hardware,
hydraulics, metal stamping, sheet metal, lubrication and welding supplies
can be found within McMinn County. Heat treating and chrome plating services
are available in Chattanooga.
Contract arrangements can be made with the
Tri-County Center's Industrial Services division's sheltered workshop program.
Several local industries have relied upon the center for packaging, light
assembly and shipping.
There are five industrial parks in McMinn
County, and other industrial areas and sites are available. Industrial space is
available in the McMinn County Interstate Industrial Park, the North Etowah
Industrial Park, the South Etowah Industrial Park, and the Mt. Verd Interchange
The two largest industrial parks are the
350-acre (230 remains available) Athens/McMinn Interstate Industrial Park
in Athens and the 200-acre (90 remains available with an additional 400 optional acres)
North Etowah Industrial Park. The Interchange Industry Park contains 223 acres.
In addition to being specifically engineered for
industrial uses, these sites feature the added benefits of high visibility
and easy access to major transportation routes.
Being located alongside
one of the major north-south motor routes in the United States, the Athens/McMinn
Interstate Industrial Park offers excellent visibility to traffic with
4,800 feet of interstate frontage. The North Etowah Industrial Park adjoins the CSX
Transportation railroad and U.S. Highway 411 and plans are underway to add 400 acres to the
North Etowah Industrial Park in 100-acre increments over the next few years.
The Mt. Verd Interchange Industrial Park is less than a quarter mile from an interchange of
I-75, and has immediate access to Tennessee State Route 305.
Also located in Etowah is the South Etowah
Industrial Park, a 43-acre development just off of U.S. Highway 411. Like
North Etowah Industrial Park, the CSX rail is nearby.
Northridge Industrial Park in Athens is the
oldest of McMinn County's four parks and was completely filled in 2001.
Although not located in developed industrial
parks, there are ideal Free Standing industrial sites in McMinn County located
throughout the Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 411 corridors.
Wages in this part of the state are competitive
with any other area of the country. The wage rate was cited by local industrial
leaders as one of the top four business features in McMinn County.
As in many areas, manufacturing wages vary widely. Hourly wages
in McMinn County range from the minimum wage, or less in some jobs such as restaurant
servers, to a high of $29.05 per hour with the overall average being $16.09 per hour,
and the average starting wage at $10.67 per hour.
According to the Insurance Services Organization,
Athens is ranked Class 4, Etowah is Class 5 and Englewood is a Class 4 in fire protection services.
Unincorporated areas throughout the county range from Class 7 to Class 9.
Two Class A sanitary landfills are operated
in McMinn County. The county-operated McMinn County Landfill accepts primarily
residential household refuse collected in the county, but the facility also
accepts some commercial and industrial wastes. A private landfill, Mine Road
Landfill, accepts some industrial and commercial wastes.
Any questions? Feel free to call the Economic
Development Authority at (423) 745-1506 and our local Chambers of Commerce.
The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce can be
reached at (423) 745-0334 while the Etowah Area Chamber of Commerce can be
reached at (423) 263-2228. Both Chambers provide information concerning
the business climate, available industrial locations and the community. Business
owners and managers are kept informed on trends, planning and marketing through
seminars and workshops hosted by the Chambers.