NCA Career Café Series

Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me, and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

The power of mentorship in the lives of young adults is vital to their emergence into the world beyond high school.  At North Central Academy, the Career Café Series is proving to lay a strong foundation for these relationships to organically form in a mutually beneficial way for both students and local industry partners. Our second event in the Career Café Series continued to concentrate on the various readiness skills outlined by the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal through partnerships with industry partners and mentors.

In teams of five, students were challenged to put a difficult, 300-piece puzzle together without any visual of what the puzzle looked like. Each team was assigned one or two industry mentors who rated the students on each of the defined Readiness skills for this activity. The mentor observed who became the natural leader of the team, and once that student leader was identified, they were allowed to see the picture of the completed puzzle and could communicate with the team; however, team members were still not allowed to talk to each other. As time progressed, the students were allowed to communicate with each other, and eventually business mentors were able to assist with the puzzle. “The purpose of this event was for students to practice work-ready skills including leadership, teamwork/collaboration, critical thinking/problem solving, oral communication, and discipline” said Career Coordinator, Becky Bernard.

Students were assigned to teams, rather than selecting their own team members. “Thoughtful and strategic planning of the activities for this café encouraged them to work closely with other students and the industry mentors in a fun, yet productive way,” said Bernard. Students were challenged to demonstrate their Readiness skills while mentors took notes that will be reviewed with the students. Bernard further stated, “it is a good way to provide feedback of what the students have learned and what they can improve upon all while connecting students with mentors who can validate their proficiency in work-ready skills required to earn the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal”.

When asked to describe the benefit of hosting a Career Café series Mrs. Bernard had this to say:

“Career Cafe's offer students a way to network with business leaders, learn more about various career pathways available in our communities, build on their work-ready skills and prepare for life after high school. It opens the door for business leaders to visit North Central Academy, see first-hand what NCA has to offer, and partner with the school to bridge the gap between high school and employment”.

North Central Academy would like to thank the following partners for their attendance and participation today:

5-Star Maintenance & Construction

MJ Recruiters

Business Banking Division, U.S. Bank

Edward Jones

Elmwood Centers, Inc.

North Central Ohio Educational Service Center

Fry Foods

American Fine Sinter

Concordance Healthcare Solutions


If you are a local business partner and would like to participate in our upcoming Career Café series, please contact Becky Bernard or Dan Traxler via email at or