Melissa Jackson – Program Coordinator for RISE Services

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From an “office” in a coffee shop to four actual rented offices . . . .what a difference 2 1/2 years makes! Melissa Jackson, program coordinator for RISE Services in Lane County, has been with the company for four years. RISE provides support and skills training for individuals and families with developmental disabilities. Prior to Jackson’s taking over the position, the Oregon division of the company, which also operates in Arizona and Utah, was small enough that she did her work at a coffee shop.

“We started growing pretty fast after the first year with me in the position,” Jackson says. “We realized that I needed an office. We looked at a few different places and Mindworks was the best fit for us.”

For the first couple of months as a Eugene Mindworks member, Jackson worked from a flex desk in the common work area. She had access to printers and used the locker storage for things she didn’t want to carry back and forth each day, such as a laminator. “After a couple months I rented an office,” she says. “Now we have grown so much that we have four rental offices here in the building and we are looking at a fifth one. The biggest asset to us has been having access to all the different conference rooms.”

RISE uses the small room, outfitted with a table and comfortable chairs with a door that securely closes, for one-on-one interviews when they are looking for caregivers to hire. She uses the medium conference room, which holds about eight people and has a table and whiteboard, for regional staff meetings. They use the large conference room, which holds about 20 people and has a projector system, for larger staff meetings and training.

“We have 130 families that we serve in Lane County and 13 staff members that are based out of Mindworks,” Jackson says. “We are big on trainings for our staff, so we’re always holding meetings in that room for ongoing training.” RISE offers CPR training for its caregivers that take place in that room, as well as two-day training for new employees twice a month. “It’s been so amazing to have those conference rooms here. That’s probably the biggest asset to us being here.”

Jackson says that having the meeting rooms of various sizes as well as flexible office space has been “really convenient.” Every time RISE has needed to expand, there’s been space for them, and they feel like they are part of a larger community here.

“Even though RISE has been around for 30 years no one really knew we existed before we got an actual office space,” says Jackson. “Plus, the environment here is so modern and fresh. The break room is nice and comfortable and there’s energy here. I feel proud to bring people to our offices and say. ‘Here’s where we are.’ It’s been a great place to foster growth.”

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