Joanie Coffaro, a workforce development expert who has spent 10 years creating and administering noncredit programs at Raritan Valley Community College, has been named executive director of workforce development and lifelong learning at Middlesex College.
“My focus is on creating industry-credentialed programs that will lead to great careers,” she said. “It starts with the employer. We sit down with them and learn what their needs are, and what programs we can create to meet those needs. We want to ensure that our workers have those skills, but then can move up and advance in the company.”
Ms. Coffaro is also a proponent of apprenticeships, again with guidance from employers.
“When you do apprenticeships right, it can be very successful for the employer and employee,” she said. “I find if you work with the companies from day one, they have a vested interest in helping us match our curriculum with their needs so the workers who we graduate have the appropriate skills.”
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, which houses all the College’s workforce training programs, including automotive technology, advanced manufacturing, cosmetology and esthetics, environmental control technology/HVAC and commercial energy management.
Coffaro also worked in sales and marketing. She is a graduate of the New Jersey Chair Academy, a leadership program for those in higher education, and Leadership Hunterdon. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s of Business Administration from Rutgers University. She is a board member of the National Council for Workforce Education and the Flemington Food Pantry.
“We have a terrific team at Middlesex College,” she said. “I’m eager to help move students into good jobs and help businesses thrive.”