It seems like Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nominee Dolly Parton is always involved in some sort of feel-good endeavor. Her uber-popular limited edition ice cream flavor sold out quickly, with proceeds going to charity. She got a dose of the COVID vaccine she helped fund. She humbly declined a bill calling for a statue of her at the Tennessee capitol. Now, employees of her Dollywood theme park will have the option to have their college education totally paid for.
— Dollywood Parks & Resorts (@Dollywood) February 9, 2022
Knoxville, Tennessee’s WATE reports this is part of the GROW U initiative from Herschend Enterprises, which co-owns Dollywood and operates a total of 25 US theme parks and tourist attractions. The program, expected to launch on February 24, will “cover 100 percent of employees’ tuition, fees and books for employees who wish to further their education” for “11,000 seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees.” As part of the program, “employees will have access to diploma, degree and certificate programs across 30 learning partners. Programs will be offered in business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology, and marketing.” Employees will be eligible to enroll in the program on their very first day of employment.
Eugene Naughton, president of The Dollywood Company, said:
“We know when our hosts are happy and feel cared for that they are going to pass that along to our guests. The creation of the program allows another avenue for us to care for our hosts. One of The Dollywood Foundation’s key tenets is to ‘learn more.’ This program is created with that very tenet in mind. We want our hosts to develop themselves through advanced learning to fulfill the foundation’s other tenets: care more, dream more, and be more. When our hosts strive to grow themselves, it makes our business and our community a truly better place.”
Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises, also said, “Whether it’s to pursue a new dream or advance their career with us, we care about our employees’ personal and professional growth, because we believe that their futures should be grown with love, not loans. Our team members’ success is our success — and that’s why we’re thrilled to make this benefit available to all, regardless of their role in the company and without the burden of debt.”
The GROW U program is powered by Guild Education, which “provides similar programs to employees of Taco Bell, Disney, Lowe’s, Walmart, and more.”