+
dollywood covers college, dollywood tuition

Dolly Parton in 2010.

Disneyland might be named the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but the employees at Dollywood can make an educated claim to fame of their own.

Herschend Enterprises, partner owner of Dollywood and the nation’s largest privately owned themed attractions operations, announced on Feb 8 that it would cover 100% of tuition, fees and books for employees to pursue further education.

Considering that the popular Smoky Mountains theme park currently has 11,000 employees (including seasonal and part-time workers) that is quite a feat.


The initiative, Herschend’s GROW U., offers more than 100 programs, many that focus on high-demand fields like business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology and marketing. The company will also provide employees up to $5,250 per year for additional programs in fields including engineering, hospitality, art design and human resources.

Needless to say, this kind of financial support can be life-changing.

Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises, defines the investment as the company’s “love culture in action.”

The CEO added, “we care about our employees' personal and professional growth, because we believe that their futures should be grown with love, not loans.”

This kind of culture really does permeate. According to CNN, employees also receive access to Dollywood Family Healthcare Center, free meals for every work shift, and apprentice and leadership programs. According to the Washington Post, other corporations such as Chipotle and Best Buy make contributions to employee education, but it's only a fraction compared to Herschend GROW U.

Still, the fact that this is a growing trend feels promising. With more than 36 well-known companies already helping with tuition, and now with Herschend GROW U. making headlines, perhaps compassionate corporations are becoming the new standard.

The program launches Feb 24, but is already giving us something to smile about.

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

A 100-year-old neurologist who's still working shares his secrets to longevity

Guinness World Records named him 'world's oldest practicing doctor.'

Dr. Howard Tucker from St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Dr. Howard Tucker added another honor to his illustrious career last year when the Guinness Book of World Records named him the world’s oldest practicing doctor. At the time, the neurologist was 99 years old and still seeing patients.

Now, at the age of 100, he told TODAY he recently stopped seeing patients but keeps himself busy teaching medical residents at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, twice a week.

Dr. Tucker believes his long career is a major reason for his incredible longevity. “I look upon retirement as the enemy of longevity,” Tucker told TODAY.

The doctor was born in 1922, graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1947 and served as a Navy neurologist during the Korean War. “Anyone who was discharged from the Navy for neurological reasons, if his residence was east of the Mississippi, I had to examine him before he could be discharged,” Tucker told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

How breastfeeding actually works is seriously awe-inspiring

Let's take a moment to marvel at this miraculous process.

A viral video shows what's happening beneath the surface when a baby breastfeeds.

Let me start by saying I don't care whether you breastfeed or not. Everyone's circumstances are different, no one needs to explain why they did or didn't breastfeed their babies and we'd all be better off with far fewer judgments across the baby-feeding spectrum.

With that disclaimer out of the way, can we at least all agree that breastfeeding is freaking awesome?

I mean, the whole biological process of growing an entire human practically from scratch is mind-blowing all by itself. But the fact that our bodies then create food to feed that human, with a whole system for how and when that food gets made and released, is just so cool.

Keep ReadingShow less