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Education

Why it matters

Less than 50 percent of children enter kindergarten prepared to learn. Of those kids, less than 50 percent will graduate high school1.1 Approximately 90 percent of the jobs in the fastest growing occupations require post-secondary education and training, yet half the United States workforce lacks the skills required for jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage.2

We can prepare children for educational and life success by providing quality care and education, including professional development for caregivers. Supporting school readiness leads to exponential gains for our children, our community and our state. In Greater Detroit, investing in one child at risk of academic failure is estimated at $100,000 over that child’s lifetime.3

What we're doing

United Way is addressing the deep need in our region by focusing on two key learning stages:

Early childhood success: From the multitude of connections within the developing brain to the fundamental habits crucial to good health, the foundation for successful learning is built in the earliest years. We work to help Greater Detroit families and childcare providers foster nurturing, literacy-rich environments using current best practices.

College and career success: We have partnered with historically lower performing high schools, creating transformational change that provides students with a personalized learning experience so they are college and career ready.

Programs/Partnerships

Learn More


[1] Entering Kindergarten: Findings from the Condition of Education 2000

[2] Jobs Agenda Education and Workforce

[3] Detroit’s one-child school readiness dividend

Stepha'n Q. Osborn High College Academy of Math, Science & Technology student

By his own depiction, Stepha’n was lost in the traditional Detroit middle school he attended. Unmotivated and unguided, his grades were dismal at a 0.3 grade point average. But then he arrived at Osborn High School’s Collegiate Academy of Math, Science & Technology, a Turnaround School funded by United Way for Southeastern Michigan. The academy changed Stepha’n’s life, and his academic performance.

“I received amazing opportunities I never would have heard of if I hadn’t been here,” says Stepha’n, now a senior whose grade point average is 4.0.

Read more about Stepha’n here.

This work is funded, in part, by the following partners:

AT&T Foundation
Corporation for National Community Service
Ford Foundation
General Motors Foundation
Kellogg Foundation
PNC Foundation
Skillman Foundation
The Ford Foundation