Citizen Advisory Board Member
Dr. Coons is currently the Vice President of Workforce and Strategic Alliances at Harper College. In this capacity, she leads workforce and economic development initiatives, as well as adult learning strategies. This includes developing and delivering programming with strategic partners in high-growth areas, supporting small business development, working with the unemployed and credentialing adult learners. Maria has successfully procured more than $20 million in grants and co-led the successful reaccreditation of the College. She recently served on the Operating Committee for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP 2.0) initiative, where she focused on talent pipeline challenges.
During her 28-year tenure at Harper, Dr. Coons served as a full-time faculty member and department chair, where she taught a full complement of management, marketing and finance courses, developed curricula and managed adjunct faculty. She also developed and managed the Adult Fast Track program, which provides cohort-based learning opportunities for adults.
Before pursuing a career in education, she was Assistant Vice President of Check Operations at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She holds a doctorate in Higher Education from National Louis University, a Master in Business Administration degree from Loyola University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.