How credit for prior learning at UA can transform lives



Jim Reed has spent more than a decade at Frito-Lay's Wooster facility, diligently working his way up the ranks.

Though, with his 13 years of experience and training individuals who took on higher positions, there was a glass ceiling Reed couldn't seem to break through—unless he shattered it first with a bachelor's degree.

So, with a clear goal in mind, Reed, 46, sought a Bachelor of Organizational Supervision at The University of Akron’s (UA) Wayne College Campus.

The campus is a short drive from his home in Polk, offering him flexibility with time for family, work and school.

But that’s not all Reed has benefited from as an adult learner at UA. Thanks to the University’s credit for prior learning degree pathway, Reed is able to graduate two years early with his degree that is already opening doors within his career that he never saw coming.

“I decided to work towards my bachelor’s degree so I can pursue higher management roles,” said Reed. “At my Frito-Lay plant, you’ll start out of college as a level six manager, and my personal goal is to earn the top level 10 manager status before retirement. Having my work experience and knowledge recognized has shown me that hard work does pay off.”

Credit for prior learning offers academic credit for relevant knowledge and skills individuals may have acquired through alternative learning experiences, such as work and military experience, professional certifications and any previous college experience.

Some students earn the credit through standardizes tests, and others, like Reed, earn them through an evaluation of their work experience. Recognizing the wealth of knowledge and experience that Reed had accumulated during his years at Frito-Lay, UA awarded him 30 credits, shaving two years off his expected graduation date.


Jim Reed’s work experience at Frito-Lay in Wooster has earned him enough credits to earn his bachelor’s degree two years early.

The organizational supervision program aligns perfectly with Reed’s current role at Frito-Lay as a team supervisor. And, it's already opened up doors for growth within the company before he graduates with a position being created to support his new skillset and goals.

“This program has made be a better communicator on many levels,” Reed asserted.

Like just about most adults over the age of 25 who are in college, Reed is doing quite a balancing act as he keeps pushing forward.

Supported by his wife, Kim, family and coworkers cheering him on, Reed has tackled work, school and family life head-on, finding moments of respite during the summer months to recharge and reconnect with loved ones. As Reed looks forward to donning his cap and gown in December 2024, graduating ahead of schedule, he’s found that his passion for career advancement has met possibility at UA.

“Time commitment has been a struggle, between school, work, and family life,” Reed explained. “I have elected not to do any classes during the summer so I could spend the time with family while having one less commitment to worry about and this has been a huge help for good mental health status.”

But Reed’s goal to earn a director position at work and continue supporting his family makes it all worth it.

Reflecting on his journey, Reed has one piece of advice for aspiring adult learners: “It’s never too late to go to college. I didn’t go back until I was 40. I have taken my time and enjoyed learning new aspects and perspectives of life.”

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or