Theory of Action
Magnolia Project establishes Career Exploration and Apprenticeship pathways, built on community partnership and a commitment to equity, to re-engage middle and high school students in school, and prepare them to define their Meaningful Next Phase of life.
When students are supported, affirmed, and comprehensively prepared to pursue their Meaningful Next Phase in life, our young people, communities, and local economies will flourish.
Theory of Action
Magnolia Project partners with middle and high schools to build high impact, career exploration and apprenticeship pathways that re-engage students in school, ignite their passions, and help them plan for their post high school Meaningful Next Phase, all embedded into the school day. Our semester-long career exploration and apprenticeship pathways include: 12-14 sessions of of our pre-work curriculum, where students build career competency skills aligned with California Common Core Technical Standards (2) a 3 day- 2 week long, full-time Career Exploration or Apprenticeship experience with an industry expert mentor (3) 6-8 sessions of post work, reflection, presentations of Learning and Meaningful Next Phase Counseling and support, to help students and their families think long-term about their future goals.
Our Career Explorations and Apprenticeships programs are delivered through a blend of technology and in-person components: our pre-and-post Exploration and Apprenticeship curriculum is delivered via online platform, and our students engage in in-person Career Explorations and Apprenticeships, where they work with, and shadow mentors with one of our 190+ different business partners. Our Career Exploration and Apprenticeship programs are designed to incentivize attendance and graduation: as our program is embedded into the school day, students must attend school to participate.
75% of high school graduates do not feel ready to make meaningful college or career decisions (2019 YouScience Post Graduation Readiness Report). There are significant disparities in post-graduation readiness among historically marginalized students: female/nonmale, students of color and low-income students are less likely to be enrolled in high-quality, career-focused Career Technical Education courses or programs at their school, and are less likely to have access to mentors in careers or industries they are interested in pursuing (2019 YouScience Report). Historically marginalized students' lack of preparedness for the future is coupled with skyrocketing chronic absenteeism post the Covid-19 pandemic: as high as 30% in some districts in Sonoma County (where we are headquartered); low-income students, in particular, are more likely to struggle with chronic absenteeism and school attendance (EdSource, 2023).
Chronic absenteeism can be a predictor of high school dropout, which has been linked to diminished health, poor labor market prospects, and even involvement in the justice system, and historically marginalized students are more likely to be chronically absent than their peers (White House Press Release, 2023). In order to chart a meaningful path for their future, students must not only attend school but have time and opportunities within the school day to explore their passions and potential career paths. Magnolia Project’s Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways bridge this gap: ensuring students are re-engaged and attend school, and have opportunities to gain real-world work experience while completing their middle and high school diplomas.
The Meaningful Next Phase:
The Meaningful Next Phase is a personal, student driven, post middle school or high school plan that upholds students’ decision making skills, values and strengths. All Magnolia Project students complete a Meaningful Next Phase plan at the end of their Career Exploration or Apprenticeship experience. The Meaningful Next Phase plan is then shared with teachers, guidance counselors, administrators and family members, so everyone is on the same page about student’s dreams and desires, and can work together to support them.
The Meaningful Next Phase is informed by early exposure to trusted mentors and potential industries and careers that are personally aligned, spark excitement, and build upon their strengths.
At Magnolia Project, the Meaningful Next Phase is not a one size fits all solution, nor is it a specific pathway into which students are tracked. Our Pathways Programs are designed to support all students in their exploration of their future careers, including college, career, military or gap-year bound students. In keeping with our equity goals, we do not sort or track students based on their future plans, nor do we pre-select experiences for students, or attempt to influence student’s Meaningful Next Phases of life.
Our approach to the Meaningful Next Phase honors student agency,
passion, and big dreams.