Joanie Coffaro
New Hire/Promotion

Middlesex College Appoints New VP for External Affairs, Communication, and Advancement

Joanie Coffaro has been named vice president for external affairs, communication, and advancement for Middlesex College.

Coffaro began her tenure at Middlesex College in 2021 as executive director of workforce development and lifelong learning, creating and administering noncredit programs that range from workforce and corporate training to youth camps and personal enrichment programs.

Before joining Middlesex College, Coffaro was director of the Workforce Training Center at Raritan Valley Community College, where she worked for 10 years. She directed the team that created the first Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship program in advanced manufacturing in New Jersey, and was instrumental in the creation of the Workforce Training Center at Raritan. Coffaro began her career in sales and marketing. After graduating from Rutgers University, she went to work in the marketing department at Prudential Insurance Company of America.

In her work at both Raritan Valley Community College and Middlesex College, Coffaro has demonstrated her ability to develop new partnerships with business and industry and her commitment to connecting the needs of area employers with individuals in the community interested in finding employment or moving up in their careers. Coffaro has developed a number of career program pathways that begin with short-term training that leads to an industry-recognized credential and then ladders into credit-bearing courses that can lead to an associate degree. Program participants can leverage the industry credential to find employment in a new field while continuing their education that will lead to greater opportunities.

Coffaro has worked closely at Middlesex College with the staff of the Middlesex College Foundation to identify employers who are willing to fund scholarships for participants in non-credit, workforce training programs. Traditional forms of federal and state financial aid do not provide funding for non-credit programs. Scholarship funding for students in non-credit training programs has created opportunity for individuals who otherwise could not afford to complete such training, and the training has made them eligible for jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.

“Joanie Coffaro’s ability to develop and nurture relationships with key external stakeholders makes her an excellent fit for this new leadership opportunity at Middlesex College. Joanie will be joining me in meeting with elected and government officials and business and community leaders to increase Middlesex College’s support of our community. Together we will advocate for Middlesex College and the students we serve, seek to identify opportunities for collaboration with external stakeholders, and tell the story of our students and alumni and their contributions to Middlesex County and New Jersey,” Middlesex College President Mark McCormick said.

“This new position encompasses everything I’ve done in my career. I am excited to work with the Middlesex College leadership team and enhance the strategic partnerships that have been built because that’s how you really get things done,” said Coffaro. “We are heading into the Community, Innovation, and Opportunity (CIO) Strategic Investment Plan with Middlesex County. I want to be able to build these strong relationships, and spearhead the marketing and foundation efforts, during what is going to be one of the most consequential periods in the College’s history.”

Coffaro holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and political science and a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University.

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