Dollywood offering free tuition, books to all employees through pilot program


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood is picking up the education tab for all of its employees this year.

Herschend Enterprises, operating partner of Dollywood, Dollywood’s Splash Country, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, Dollywood Cabins and Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, announced it will cover 100% of their employees’ tuition, fees and books for those who wish to further their education.

“We know when our hosts are happy and feel cared for that they are going to pass that along to our guests,” said Eugene Naughton, president of The Dollywood Company. “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.”

Herschend Enterprises is offering the incentive through its pilot program GROW U. Seasonal, part-time and full-time 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.

Additionally, the company will provide partial funding, up to $5,250/year, for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and art design.

Guild Education powers the GROW U program. Guild Education provides similar programs to employees of Taco Bell, Disney, Lowe’s, Walmart and more.

The GROW U program officially launches on Feb. 24, for all employees. Hosts can enroll in the program on their first day of employment.

For more information about working at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, visit

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