Immigrants to Minnesota have new online resource

The international section of takes aim at assisting newcomers.

by Elizabeth Giorgi

Many things go through the mind of someone new to the United States – such as where to find a job, what school to attend and where to live.

A new service exists to answer these questions.

“New to America,” the new Web site addition, aids new Minnesotans in their educational and career goals. The Web site provides resources for career planning, choosing a school, exploring cultural resources, practicing English and many other tools to make newcomers’ transitions easier.

The Internet System for Education and Employment Knowledge is Minnesota’s portal for its citizens to explore their careers, education and business opportunities.

Its executive board includes such departments as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the University of Minnesota.

Melinda Voss, public relations director for MNSCU, said the new addition was needed.

“Minnesota is the No. 1 state in the country per population basis for new immigrants,” she said.

University President Bob Bruininks said in a news release, “Whether from Africa, Southeast Asia or other places around the world, Minnesota has a strong history as a warm and welcoming place for new immigrants and refugees. This new Web site is an important part of continuing that tradition.”

One of the features of the site is a graphic outline where users can choose different regions of Minnesota and find a school within that region. Another section gives a practice English proficiency exam.

Josh Baller, the webmaster for the Minnesota International Student Association, said all the tools needed to find a career are available on the site.

“However, with how well the Web site is laid out, I would expect that the international section would be advertised to a greater extent,” he said.

University News Service director Dan Wolter said he thinks the site is primarily going to be used outside the University.

“It is going to be a really valuable source for (immigrants and refugees) to see what kind of opportunities they would have at the University of Minnesota.”