Higher Education Today’s recurring Student Spotlight series features the stories of students who have used ACE credit recommendations for military and corporate training.
Twenty years might appear to be a long hiatus from pursuing a higher education, but for Douglas Gerhard, the timing was just right.
Gerhard, a corporate instructor and the franchise learning manager at Jiffy Lube International/Shell Lubricants, began undergraduate coursework at The Ohio State University after high school. But a full-time job and a family intervened, and he was forced to put his degree on hold.
Several decades later, as his own children were nearing college-age and wanting to fulfill a long-held promise to his father, Gerhard decided it was time to head back to school.
Around the same time, Jiffy Lube’s employee-training curriculum received college credit recommendations from ACE, and Gerhard realized he could put into practice exactly what he taught Jiffy Lube employees.
In 2013, Gerhard enrolled at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) to pursue a degree in business management. Under an agreement between Jiffy Lube and UMUC, employees can transfer Jiffy Lube University credits to UMUC to take courses in management, marketing and team building and earn an undergraduate degree.
He has been able to apply seven credits from his corporate training at Jiffy Lube to his studies at UMUC—all from ACE credit recommendations—saving both tuition and classroom time.
Gerhard also reworked the Jiffy Lube University Leadership section of continued employee development to teach employees about ACE credit recommendations and how they can provide a pathway to a degree. He estimates that he has been able to reach over 600 students in the past three years about the benefits of ACE credit recommendations, and while there is no “magic force to get them out of their chair and into college,” Gerhard does everything he can to encourage others to continue their education just as he did.
Gerhard says he is a firm believer that you are never too old to go to college. He is now just a few semesters from completing his degree, with aspirations to continue learning and teaching and potentially earn his master’s degree.