Workforce and Education

A Qualified Workforce

Jackson County is home to over 40,000 people, with steady population growth expected to continue over the next decade. Our residents are young – the average age is well under 40 – and well educated, with more than 85% of the population over 18 holding at least a high school diploma. One study found that North Carolina workers are 36% more productive than the average U.S. worker!


Jackson County is home to two award-winning higher education institutions. Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, enrolls more than 10,000 students in a variety of programs annually, and serves as a regional hub for economic development, entrepreneurship, and innovative research. Southwestern Community College, based in Sylva with regional campuses, has ranked 4th in the nation for the past three years and offers over 100 technical and professional certifications in addition to personal and small business development programs.

© Jackson County Economic Development/Website by Hazel Digital Media
Photography by Jeremy Wilson and Nick Breedlove