PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WJHL)– The job market has been volatile the past few years through the pandemic, but Dollywood hasn’t struggled to stay staffed.

The park’s Vice President of Human Resources, Tim Berry, said the company’s incentives and culture are what keep their employees.

“The job market is difficult. Everybody has seen that, but our retention rate has been really strong, and I think I attribute that to that family culture that we talk about. And so while we do have seasonal folks that come and go, our retention rate is really high compared to the industry,” Berry told News Channel 11. “And I think the options that we offer them, the perks and the benefits really help encourage people to stay.”

Like most other companies, Dollywood offers health insurance. They also have an employee clinic, childcare for those who need it and offer free park admission for employees and their families on their days off.

“We consider ourselves a big family here among our hosts, and we know that when they come here, it’s not just a job -they have lives. And we want to respect that,” Berry said. “We want to provide things to them that [make] their lives easier so if we can do that through by helping with their education, helping them with their health care, helping them have fun with their family on days off.”

Last year, the company announced that it will start to cover 100% of its employees’ tuition, fees and books.

“For folks who are working and want to further their education, we have a free scholarship program,” Berry said. “People can get their bachelor’s degree, they can get their master’s degree if they want to complete their high school education and get that we have certificates and all kinds of learning options for people while they’re working.”

Like the job market, finding housing, especially short-term, has also been a struggle. As of spring 2023, Dollywood has temporary housing for seasonal employees and those who are employed on an international work visa through the cultural exchange program.

“In the future, we really want to establish more residential housing. We don’t know quite what that looks like, but we’re talking to our developer who has made the current housing so successful on how we can extend that out to year-round folks and residents of our area,” Berry said.

Berry said Dollywood always has open positions. As of mid-May, the park is hiring year-round and seasonal employees, especially as they gear up for a busy summer season.