North Central Missouri College will be launching the SAIL program (Students Accessing Individualized Learning), starting in the fall of 2024. This innovative two-year postsecondary program is designed to provide academic support and develop employable skills for students with neurodivergent conditions. The SAIL Program operates from NCMC’s Trenton Main Campus, offering a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

NCMC named Tara Hoffman to serve as the Director of the SAIL program. Tara has an extensive background working with neurodiverse students and leading learning programs. Tara holds a specialist in Education Administration and a Masters of Science in Special Education. Throughout her career, she has been the Director of Special Services and a Special Education teacher. She has a dedication to helping students with distinctive needs and a strong understanding of leading individualized learning programs.

We are thrilled to name Tara Hoffman as the SAIL Director,” said Dr. Mitch Holder, Dean of Instruction. “Tara has outstanding experiences working with neurodiverse students throughout her 15-year career in the K-12 setting. These experiences provide her with tremendous insights in helping students navigate the transition from high school to college. Best of all, Tara’s passion for students is clearly evident and she’s eager to help them remain successful when coming to college.”

The mission of the SAIL Program is to recognize and nurture the unique strengths of neurodiverse students. By offering tailored academic support and employable skill development, the SAIL program aims to open pathways to progressive employment opportunities. The program emphasizes resilience and a sense of belonging through personalized reinforcement, counseling, and integration into campus life. With a strong focus on workforce readiness, the SAIL program empowers students to pursue their academic and career goals with confidence.

Tara Hoffman, SAIL Director said, “Our vision is to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment where neurodivergent learners can thrive. I am excited to be a part of this journey, guiding our students towards becoming confident, skilled individuals ready to make meaningful contributions to society. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of such a great initiative and look forward to working collaboratively to contribute to the success of the SAIL program.”

Envisioning an inclusive environment, the SAIL Program aims to see its graduates as confident, skilled individuals ready to make meaningful contributions to the workforce and society. The program’s vision is rooted in creating a nurturing space where neurodivergent learners can thrive while pursuing their dreams and achieving success. The program’s slogan, “Anchored in Support, SAILing Towards Success,” captures this commitment.

Dr. Holder went on to say, “As a community college program dedicated to serving neurodiverse students for the purpose of employability training and entering the workforce, the SAIL Program is the first of its kind in the state of Missouri. Most importantly, this program is about embracing the unique differences of students as they access college education. It is imperative we take action to include neurodiverse individuals as we build stronger communities and a 21st century workforce.”

The goals of the SAIL Program include providing individualized academic support and skill development, fostering resilience, and promoting a sense of belonging. The program is designed to empower students to achieve their academic and career aspirations and to facilitate a smooth transition into the workplace through job coaching and career planning support.

The admissions process for the SAIL program is application-based, with a limited number of spots available. Ideal candidates are between the ages of 18 and 25, have been diagnosed with an intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disability before turning 18, and demonstrate basic literacy skills. They should also display the ability to follow rules, behave respectfully, and commit to participating in program activities.

To learn more about NCMC’s SAIL Program or contact Director Tara Hoffman, or Dean of Instruction Mitch Holder at (660) 359-3948.

Photo: Tara Hoffman

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