Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Pays Tuition For All Employees

Dolly Parton (Photo: David Becker)

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Videos by American Songwriter

Dollywood, the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee-based theme park founded by legendary music icon Dolly Parton, announced that if any of its employees wish to continue to pursue their education, the park is happy to help.

Herschend Enterprises, the company that operates Dollywood, Dollywood Splash Country, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, Dollywood Cabins, and Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, has announced that starting this month, the company will cover 100% of tuition, fees, and books for any of their employees who wish to attend school to further their education, according to Variety.

Herschend will reportedly begin to offer this support through its pilot program GROW U, which is set to officially launch on February 24. And it will go for all seasonal, part-time and full-time employees.

“Employees will be able to enroll in the new program starting on their first day of work in diploma, degree, and certificate programs offered through 30 learning partners and in subjects such as business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology, and marketing,” shared the outlet.

GROW U will also reportedly provide partial funding—up to $5,250 per year—for 150 other programs in courses like hospitality, engineering, human resources, and art design.

“We know when our [employees] are happy and feel cared for that they are going to pass that along to our guests,” said President of The Dollywood Company, Eugene Naughton, to local Tennessee outlet WATE: The creation of the program allows another avenue for us to care for our hosts.”

Naughton added, “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.” 

Parton also gives away over $1 million a year in donations through her Dollywood Foundation. And through her Imagination Library, she’s helped to offer free books every month to students.

Famously, Parton also helped to fund the COVID-19 vaccine, giving $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help fund the Moderna vaccine development.

In other Parton news, the singer recently teased an upcoming collaboration with Goddaughter Miley Cyrus, writing, “There’s big stuff on the way from me, @TMobile and @MileyCyrus! Stay tuned to see more soon. #DoItForThePhones #Ad

Dolly Parton Photo by David Becker / Getty Images

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