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Dollywood Company offering free tuition for employees

by Susan and Simon Veness

Dollywood Company and Herschend Enterprises have announced they will offer free tuition and cover fees and books for employees seeking to further their education.

Dollywood free tuition
Photo courtesy of Dollywood

Herschend’s new Grow U program, which launches on February 24, will be implemented on the employee’s first day, and is offered to those working at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, Silver Dollar City in Missouri, Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey, Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, and Wild Adventures in Georgia.

Seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees, called “hosts,” are eligible to participate in the program.

“Our goal at Dollywood Parks and Resorts is to provide the best possible experience for both our guests and our hosts,” said President of The Dollywood Company, Eugene Naughton. “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,’ Naughton added. “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. We care about hour hosts’ development and we want their future to grow because of love, not loans.”

Wild Adventures park employees
Photo courtesy of Wild Adventures

Grow U, in cooperation with Guild Education, will provide funding for 11,000 eligible hosts over more than 100 diploma, degree, and certificate programs, and across 30 learning partners, many of them in the high-demand fields of business administration and leadership, culinary arts, finance, technology, and marketing.

Additional partial-funding of up to $5,250 per year will be available for 150 programs in hospitality, engineering, human resources, and art design.

Those who would like to participate in the program through a position at Dollywood Parks & Resorts during the 2022 operating season can apply at Dollywoodjobs.com. Applicants must be 14 years of age or older.

Wild Adventures will be hiring 500 team members for the 2022 season. “We care deeply about our team members’ desire for personal and professional growth,” said Jon Vigue, Wild Adventures vice president and general manager. “We are extremely happy to make this benefit available to all of our team members, regardless of their role in the company, because we believe their futures should be grown with love, and without the burden of loans.”

To apply for a job at Wild Adventures, visit WildAdventures.com/Jobs.


Dolly Parton and family sing 'Circle of Love' at Dollywood
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