After funding the first wave of Covid-19 vaccine research, the country music star and beloved celebrity Dolly Parton is now spreading the gift of education.
The country singer’s company recently announced that her theme parks will pay for its employees to pursue a college degree.
Starting 24 February, employees at Dollywood who pursue a college degree will have their tuition, associated fees and books 100% covered by the Dollywood theme park.
The offer also includes all 11,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees that work at any of the 25 amusement parks and attractions under Herschend Enterprises, Dollywood’s parent company, including Dollywood.
Under the Grow U program, the new education pilot initiative, employees can register for a higher learning program on their first day through 30 offered learning partners, with subjects ranging from marketing, technology and other studies.
Grow U has also committed to partially funding 150 additional degree programs that include art design, engineering and hospitality, covering up to $5,250.
“When our hosts feel appreciated and are given opportunities like this, they feel cared for and they can pass that feeling on to their guests,” said Wes Ramey, a spokesman for Dollywood Co, to the Washington Post.
Ramey also confirmed to the Post that the program had Parton’s full support, adding: “She’s very supportive of the employees learning and continuing to grow themselves.”
While other companies have previously offered education incentive programs for their employees, many such initiatives have been scaled back or on a smaller scale compared with the Dollywood program, according to the Post.
Many larger companies such as Chipotle and Best Buy only offer up to $5,000 of covered tuition to employees. Starbucks only covers an online degree obtained through Arizona State University.