Herschend Enterprises, the nation’s largest privately-owned themed attractions corporation, announced Tuesday it will cover 100% of tuition, fees, and books for any of its 11,000 employees who choose to pursue further education.

The investment in employee education will be made through Herschend’s GROW U, according to the company. The program aims to make it “exponentially easier for employees at all levels to pursue their personal and professional dreams through education” from “day one on the job.”

“Herschend’s GROW U is not only a significant and transformational investment in our employees’ growth but also our love culture in action,” Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises said in a statement. “Herschend is rooted in love – it’s evident at every Herschend property, every day – in the way we treat and support each other, how we Create Memories Worth Repeating for guests, and most importantly, how we care for our employees.”

The program will officially launch on February 24 for all seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees across its 25 U.S. attractions including The Harlem Globetrotters, Dollywood Parks & Resorts, Silver Dollar City, Adventure Aquarium, Newport Aquarium, Kentucky Kingdom, Wild Adventures, and Pink Adventure Tours.

“We know when our hosts are happy and feel cared for that they are going to pass that along to our guests,” Dollywood Company President Eugene Naughton said in a statement to WATE. “The creation of the program allows another avenue for us to care for our hosts.”

The program offers eligible employees and hosts more than 100 fully funded diploma, degree and certificate programs across 30 learning partners in Guild’s Learning Marketplace, including programs in high-demand fields such as business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology, and marketing. Additionally, the company says it will provide “partial funding, up to $5,250/year, for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and art design.”

– – –

Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Dollywood” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY-SA 3.0.