President Coons Appointed to Governor’s Workforce Cabinet

Thursday, September 22, 2022
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President Coons’ experience in higher education leadership, business and finance will help Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state leaders develop the workforce necessary to grow and diversify the state’s economy.

President Robert A. Coons has been appointed to serve a two-year term on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to help strengthen Indiana’s economy by addressing current and future education and employment needs for residents and employers.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the appointment on September 21 from the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Formed in 2018, the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (GWC) includes 27 members comprising statewide business officials, postsecondary institution and K-12 representatives, Indiana lawmakers, and leaders from Indiana state agencies. Other Indiana college and university presidents joining Coons in the group include Pamela Whitten of Indiana University, Sue Ellspermann of Ivy Tech Community College, Chuck Johnson of Vincennes University and Ronald Rochon of University of Southern Indiana.

The GWC led the development of Indiana's Strategic Workforce Plan in 2020. This four-year plan outlined initiatives to create a talent system that affords all Hoosiers equitable opportunities for lifelong learning and increased personal economic mobility and provides employers the talent to grow and diversity their workforce. (Editor's Note: The Governor's Workforce Cabinet submitted its recommendations in November 2022, which can be found here: Recommendations to Tackle Employer Talent Challenges and Accelerate the State's Economy).

Coons said, “I’m looking forward to working alongside Governor Holcomb, other education leaders, and business, government and community officials from throughout Indiana to help develop the workforce necessary to meet current industry and corporate needs and attract future employers.” 

Coons brings a wealth of expertise in higher education, finance, and management to the GWC. He has been Rose-Hulman president since the fall of 2018 and was interim president from April 2012 to April 2013. He also has served as the Institute’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer, vice president of business and finance, and controller. Coons is an Indiana native who earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana State University. He is a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Executive Management and a licensed certified public accountant.

Holcomb worked with Coons when Rose-Hulman hosted an Indiana Economic Development Corporation meeting on campus in the spring of 2019. Coons also presented Holcomb with an honorary degree from Rose-Hulman in 2020.

His current involvement in business and community development and support includes serving on the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Board of Directors, as a member of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, the Independent Colleges of Indiana Board of Directors, and serving as vice chairman of the Union Hospital/Union Health System Board of Directors.

Coons also has previously served in a variety of community support roles. He is a graduate of Leadership Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute. He received the Rose-Hulman President’s Outstanding Service Award in 2010, the Rose-Hulman Honor Alumni Award in 2013, the Indiana University East Honor Alumni Award in 2013, and Terre Haute Rotary Vocational Service Award in 2014.

Coons and his wife, Tammy, live in Terre Haute.