The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has appointed Abdiwahab Mohamed as temporary assistant commissioner for immigration and refugee affairs. Mohamed, who is currently the agency’s Regional Commercial Director for Africa, the Middle East and India, said that over the past five years he has had the honor of working with the largest community. Minnesota businessman at trade office. The move to his new role would allow him to focus on expanding access and support for immigrants and refugees in communities across the state, he said.
“I am delighted to continue the critical work underway and look forward to working with the community and state government leaders to provide continued support and resources,” Mohamed said in a statement released after his appointment. .
Mohamed, who was born in Kenya, will replace Deputy Commissioner Anisa Hajimumin, who will leave in late August to move with her family to Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the agency. For the past two years, Hajimumin, originally from Somalia, has led Minnesota’s Office of New Americans (ONA), a privately funded initiative that works with new immigrants to the state to help them maximize their potential in the economy.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove thanked Hajimumin for “his extraordinary efforts to serve immigrants and refugees, especially during ‘the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic’, adding that his legacy will be safe in the hands of Mohammad.
“I am grateful to Abdiwahab for accepting the role of Deputy Commissioner so that there is no disruption to our services to immigrants and refugees – services that are more important than ever,” Grove said.
Hajimumin said it was an honor to have the opportunity to serve immigrants and refugees, and she would encourage ONA’s continued efforts in the future.
“Immigrants and refugees have long been a source of strength for Minnesota, both culturally and economically,” she said. “We are fortunate to have many immigrant communities in our state – and know they face unique challenges navigating new lives in Minnesota.
Over the past decade, Minnesota added 81,400 new immigrants to the labor force, according to DEED. Minnesota immigrants make up 10% of the population, according to the American Immigration Council. The top country of origin of newcomers to the state is Mexico, with 12% of the total immigrant population originating from this state, followed by Somalia (8%), India (6%), Laos (5%) and Ethiopia (5%). ). More than one in ten workers in Minnesota is an immigrant, a figure that represents a significant portion of the state’s labor force. The top industries for immigrants to Minnesota are health care and social assistance, manufacturing, retail, educational services, and accommodation and food services.
During the last legislative session, DEED secured state funding to expand ONA beyond the grant funding, which ends in July 2023. More recently, ONA has focused heavily on helping Afghan refugees make a smooth transition to life in Minnesota and find opportunities for their families. Over the past two years, ONA has expanded its reach to launch programs such as the Foreign-trained healthcare workerswhich helps them land bigger roles in Minnesota’s healthcare industry.
Mohamed will begin his new role on September 1 and will serve until the end of Governor Tim Walz’s first term.