About Us


Our mission is “to provide tools by which first generation immigrants, refugees, and their families become independent and productive members of the Twin Cities community.” 



The International Education Center has been helping immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams since 1991.

The IEC was established in 1991 as Gateway, a non-profit English language school for adults of international origin. As the need for English language instruction grew due to increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees relocating to the Twin Cities, the program grew in size and became an adult basic education (ABE) program under the umbrella organization Institute for New Americans (INA).

From 1994 to 2006 the INA included the Hmong elders program, an English and cultural proficiency program that supported older members of the Hmong community. From 1996-2007 the INA also included Abraham Lincoln High School, an alternative high school focused on serving immigrant and refugee teens.

In 2006, Volunteers of America took over the Hmong elders program, and in 2007 the high school became its own charter. The remaining adult education program became the Institute for New Americans doing business as the International Education Center. In addition to continuing its English language instruction, the IEC incorporated GED preparation, citizenship, computer, and math classes. At various points it has offered a TOEFL class, career-specific language classes, and was contracted to provide on-site English instruction to employees at local businesses.

Our Partners

The IEC relies on several community partners to help us achieve our mission. They provide us with volunteers, student referrals, resources, and expertise, or partner with us on various projects. We are grateful for the support that these dedicated organizations provide to the IEC.


  • Cristo Rey

  • Fredrikson & Byron

  • Hennepin County

  • Isuroon

  • Maplewood Development

  • Mary’s Place / Sharing and Caring Hands

  • Metro Transit

  • Microsoft

  • Minneapolis Community & Technical College

  • Minneapolis Public Library

  • Minneapolis WorkForce Center

  • Minnesota Computers for Schools

  • Minnesota Literacy Council

  • Otto Bremer Trust


  • St. Catherine University

  • TechSoup

  • Thomas Lewis Associates

  • University of Minnesota

Who we serve

The IEC provides instruction to more than 700 students from more than 60 countries each year. The current student body is approximately 49% Black, 32% Latino, 9% Asian, 9% White, and 1% other. Students range in age from 17 to over 80, with the largest percentage (~60%) between the ages of 25 and 44.


What we do

The IEC prepares students to enroll in higher education; to search and apply for jobs; to function at a higher level in American culture; or simply to become more productive and independent members of our community. Multi-lingual, multi-cultural individuals can be a great asset to any organization operating in a global market.


How we’re funded

Our support comes from:

  • State and federal funding

  • State and foundation grants

  • Community partners

  • Individual donations


Our Board and Executives

The IEC relies on a strong board and executive team to guide the organization.
Learn more about our leadership.


employment at iec

The IEC uses the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits to post open positions.

Need More?

All Minnesota ABE programs create a narrative every 5 years. For all IEC’s policies and procedures review the 2018 narrative here.