United Way's On Track To Success program helps students 'take charge of their own future', says researcher

600X300 GROUP SHOT OTTS MEDIA EVENT 194.jpgLorraine Goddard and Liam Giles-Hayes, United Way, Justin - On Track to Success graduate, Dr. Rajeeva Sinha - Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Sindy - On Track to Success graduate, Jeff Berryman - University of Windsor, Mike Silvaggi - St. Clair College

Media Release
May 24, 2019 

Windsor, ON – Amidst the media event fanfare of new post-secondary school bursaries for students in United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County’s On Track to Success program from St. Clair College and the University of Windsor, is an outcome far more long-lasting – researchers say the program is having a real effect on student school performance and successful graduation.

Dr. Rajeeva Sinha, Associate Professor from the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor received a provincial grant to independently study On Track to Success program results by comparing local students receiving the supports to similar students who were not participating in the program.

“Evidence gathered to date, as part of an ongoing evaluation, suggests that the On Track to Success program is having its intended impact,” says Dr. Sinha. “We see statistically significant differences in academic performance measures as well as developmental assets that are indicators of long-term student success and post-secondary school completion rates.”

Some statistically significant differences include:

Statistically Significant Differences Only for At-Risk Students
Final Marks for All Courses 70% 64%
Days Absent  8.5 days 12 days
Works Independently  3 2
Organization 3 2
Initiative 3 2
Responsibility 3 2
Self-Regulation 3 2


Developmental Asset Score distribution 
Impact of OTTS on Soft Skills
(Percentage of students who self-reported internal & external assets as fair or higher) 
Commitment to Learn 77% 47% +30%
Social Competencies 83% 67% +16%
Positive Identity 73% 63% +10%
Empowerment 90% 67% +23%
Total Asset Score 85% 65% +20%


“The On Track to Success program equips the students with the assets they need to take charge of their own future,” says Sinha.

For access to a full report summary, visit weareunited.com/OnTracktoSuccessResults.

Currently 125 students are receiving On Track To Success supports and this June, the first cohort of 50 students will graduate. Ninety percent of those graduating are enrolled in post-secondary education – a core goal of the program. The program runs in Leamington and West Windsor.

“The On Track to Success program leads to improved school performance and education is the clearest pathway to prosperity,” says United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard. “The results of this report confirm what we know to be true, that we can level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students and give them opportunities to succeed, live up to their true potential and be ready for 21st Century jobs.”

“We want these students to know that their community believes in them, and that we want to see them achieve their dreams for the future.”

As the first cohort graduates, United Way has developed new partnerships with St. Clair College and the University of Windsor, and a grant from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to offer bursaries and scholarships to On Track to Success students to assist with paying for post-secondary training as follows:

Institution Amount Total
University of Windsor $1,000/year for four years $4,000 maximum
St. Clair College  Entrance award $750  $2,250 maximum
Tuition bursary $500/year

Graduating On Track students who have been in the program for four years and choose to attend different post-secondary institutions are still eligible to receive a $4,000 bursary as part of the On Track to Success program. These new bursaries are in addition to the existing program bursary.

“We are thrilled to be working with United Way and St. Clair College to expand the reach and depth of the On Track program, and look forward to welcoming members of the first cohort to campus in the fall, who will receive a $4,000 bursary from the University in support of their post-secondary studies,” says Dr. Jeff Berryman, Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic at the University of Windsor.  “A team from across campus has been working with United Way since the fall, developing transitional programming for students as they prepare for post-secondary education, and planning programming to support them when they arrive.”

“St. Clair College continues its support and commitment to servicing the needs of the community; ensuring our youth are afforded the opportunities to pursue further education, whether it be post-secondary, apprenticeship, or academic/skills upgrading. We believe partnerships with the United Way and University of Windsor are essential to strengthening community bonds and enhancing student supports that move our region forward,” says Michael Silvaggi, Associate Vice President, Student Services and Registrar at St. Clair College.

The next step in Dr. Sinha’s research will be to determine the impact that the program has on enrollment rates, credit accumulation and post-secondary program retention rates compared to similar attendees who did not receive program support. He will also work on calculating a financial value called a social return on investment value for the On Track intervention. For example, similar programs in Ontario have found that there was a $24 return on investment for every dollar put into the program.

The On Track to Success Program is supported through individual and corporate donations from the community. To learn more about On Track to Success, visit weareunited.com/OnTrackToSuccess.


Media Contact

Karen Brady, Marketing & Communications Manager
e: kbrady@weareunited.com  
w: 519-259-6192   
m: 519-564-8554

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United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
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