MEC and ThinkSelf Partnership

A new partnership between the Minnesota Employment Center (MEC) and ThinkSelf will expand services for Minnesota’s Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing communities.

Rise’s Minnesota Employment Center supports hundreds of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people as they discover new skills, explore career opportunities, and find meaningful employment. MEC team members are fluent in ASL and build long-term relationships to assist workers as they explore changing industries, seek out new opportunities, and advance their careers. Team members also help employers create workplace accommodations and provide ongoing support beyond the hiring process.

This new arrangement will allow MEC and ThinkSelf to create deeper relationships and share knowledge while working to expand services and advocate for greater opportunities for Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people in Minnesota.

“We are so excited to announce this news,” said Rise President and CEO Lynn Noren, “ThinkSelf is a Deaf-led organization with a mission and values that closely align with ours at Rise. We know there will be tremendous benefits to us working together and we are excited for opportunities to collaborate in the future.”

“At ThinkSelf, we work with Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people through our adult education program by providing support with literacy expansion, goal-setting and workforce readiness. Rise’s job market expertise and support network will help those we serve accomplish their career goals,” said ThinkSelf Executive Director Aaron Gutzke.

This new arrangement replaces Rise’s previous partnership between St. Paul, Minn.-based Lifetrack, and the Minnesota Employment Center. All Rise MEC staff located at Lifetrack have moved to new spaces at 2375 University Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55114 effective June 30, 2021.

“Lifetrack has been a Rise partner for more than 20 years,” Noren said. “We are grateful for the time together and wish them success in their future work.”

The new partnership began July 1. Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans looking for assistance can find job support program information and MEC locations at