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NEWS: Herschend Enterprises' 11,000 Employees to receive 100% Free Tuition

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Herschend Enterprises has announced details about their new GROW U program to all employees to pursue higher education with 100% of tuition, fees and books paid for as a part of the program.



Today Herschend Enterprises, the nation's largest privately-owned themed attractions corporation, announced it will cover 100% of tuition, fees, and books for its 11,000 employees who choose to pursue further education. The significant investment in employee education will be made through Herschend's GROW U. The program aims to make it exponentially easier for employees at all levels to pursue their personal and professional dreams through education.

Herschend's GROW U. will officially launch on February 24, 2022, for all seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees across its 25 US attractions including The Harlem Globetrotters, Dollywood Parks & Resorts (Tenn.), Silver Dollar City (Mo.), Adventure Aquarium (N.J.), Newport Aquarium (Ky.), Kentucky Kingdom (Ky.), Wild Adventures (Ga.), and Pink Adventure Tours (Ariz., Tenn., Nev.).

"Herschend's GROW U. is not only a significant and transformational investment in our employee's growth but also our love culture in action," said Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises. "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."

"Whether it's to pursue a new dream or advance their career with us, we care about our employees' personal and professional growth, because we believe that their futures should be grown with love, not loans," continued Wexler. "Our team members' success is our success – and that's why we're thrilled to make this benefit available to all, regardless of their role in the company and without the burden of debt."

Herschend's GROW U. offers 11,000 eligible seasonal, part-time and full-time employees and hosts more than 100 fully-funded (100% free) 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 will provide partial funding, up to $5,250/year, for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and art design.

Herschend Enterprises selected Guild Education, the nation's leading education and upskilling platform, to power GROW U. because of their strong reputation for connecting employers and high-value learning providers to create opportunities for America's workforce. Herschend employees will have access to Guild's proprietary Learning Marketplace to select from more than 30 learning providers and utilize resources like professional coaches to support their educational journey.

 "We're proud to partner with Herschend to provide their employees with an equitable education program to advance their careers," said Natalie McCullough, President and Chief Commercial Officer of Guild. "With this program, Herschend is preparing its workforce for the jobs of the future with new skills and mobility opportunities."

About Herschend Enterprises
Launched in 1960, Herschend Enterprises is a family of companies that focus on family entertainment. Its operating companies include Herschend Family Entertainment (Dollywood® Parks & Resorts, Silver Dollar City®, Adventure Aquarium®, Newport Aquarium®, Kentucky Kingdom®, and Wild Adventures®), Herschend Live (Harlem Globetrotters®), Herschend Entertainment Studios (Splash & Bubbles® and Chuggington®) and Herschend Adventure Holdings, LLC (Pink Adventure Tours®). Herschend properties entertain more than 14 million guests annually. For six decades, Herschend has operated with the purpose of bringing families closer together by Creating Memories Worth Repeating®. For more information, visit www.herschendenterprises.com. 

About Guild Education
Guild Education is on a mission to unlock opportunity for America's workforce through education and upskilling. A certified B-Corp, founded to bridge the gap between education and employment for working adults in the U.S. in need of upskilling for the future of work, Guild's industry-leading technology platform allows the nation's largest employers — including Bon Secours Mercy Health, Chipotle, Discover, Hilton, Macy's, Target, Walmart and The Walt Disney Company — to offer strategic education and upskilling to their employees. Guild connects workers to a learning marketplace of the nation's best learning partners for working adults with tuition paid by the company. Guild's payments and technology platform, curated learning marketplace, and advanced education and career services come together to help working adult learners advance in their education and career, debt-free. For more information, visit https://www.guildeducation.com/

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I don't think so...? They mention a Guild "Learning Marketplace" and then later says people can choose "from more than 30 learning providers". Which I'm assuming is colleges/vocational schools/etc. I could be wrong, though. But that's what my interpretation was.

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It's definitely through that website. They mention a "learning marketplace," whatever that means. I've looked through the website, and it's chock full of business jargon. Nothing about it resembles any higher ed site I've seen. I'm just getting serious red flags from the site. Don't like this vibe one bit.

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Guild appears to be a benefit coordination company. So Herschend pays them and they handle payments to all the different providers. Off loads the details of tracking what courses each employee takes and paying dozens of different providers. 

Because of that there don't present a lot of details to the public. 

Of course it's a lot of online schools. This is for current employees who have to take classes when not at work. It's not like they can travel 100s of miles to attend classes on campus.

And the goal is to educate the workforce for other positions in the company, not to get degrees so they can go work somewhere else.

This article from last year mentions a partnership with 2U Inc. , which adds 2U's institutions such as Michigan State University, Rice University and the University of California, Berkeley to Guild's existing links to  University of Arizona, Purdue University and the University of Florida.

This article also mentions Bellevue University, Brandman University,  University of Denver, Western Governors University and Wilmington University as Guild partners.

And some background on the founder/CEO of Guild. Make if it what you will.

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On 2/10/2022 at 11:00 PM, tinaalsgirl said:

Okay, I found a list of the "partners" and... there aren't a whole lot of schools to choose from. There are a couple state universities, but not a whole lot. Lots of online schools.

I'm definitely with you on this: weird vibes.

this is becoming the norm, I did my Computer Science Bachelor's degree totally online and never stepped foot in a classroom while working full time.

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3 hours ago, ytterbiumanalyst said:

"Daughter of charter school investor." Ugh. 🤮

That's what you noticed?

Not daughter of state Senator or granddaughter of governor turned school superintendent?

Or that she was part of the Obama administration? 


She grew up in a political family and followed into politics. I expect she'll go back to politics too.

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The first thing I noticed, yes, mainly because it was in the first sentence. But you're right, the rest of her resume is pretty gross too. Especially that "Forbes List of Self-Made Women" bit. As if there is such a thing as self-made at all, but in her case we have generations of wealth and power.


I started off skeptical of this, and the more I find out about it, the sketchier it seems.

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1 hour ago, ytterbiumanalyst said:

I started off skeptical of this, and the more I find out about it, the sketchier it seems.

Look at the list of companies working with them already. Some big hitters, and they seem happy with the results since they are still using Guild years later.

I'd really like to find some information from employees of those other companies. I'm somewhat optimistic because I can't find lots of complaints from them about it being a scam or useless.

It's just not quite what Herschend implied originally, but not as bad as it could have been. 

That said I wouldn't have gone with them, but I'm but the CEO of a multi-million/billion dollar company. 

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