Message from Deputy Commissioner Warfa on COVID-19 assistance to Minnesota workforce

Deputy Commissioner Hamse Warfa is the highest ranking African immigrant in Minnesota state government.

Editor’s note: Deputy Commissioner Hamse Warfa originally sent this message to Mshale eNewsletter subscribers on May 7, 2020.

My name is Hamse Warfa and I am the deputy commissioner for Workforce Development at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). DEED is working with Mshale and other community publications to get the word out about help for people who’ve lost a job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment insurance benefits are available to more people now:

  • Did you lose your job through no fault of your own?
  • Were your hours reduced?
  • Did you work multiple jobs?
  • Are you self-employed?
  • Did you lose childcare?

These are some of the reasons why people are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If you lost your job or lost hours, check your eligibility by applying online at

Applying for unemployment insurance benefits does not cost you anything., You don’t need to pay someone to help you apply. Language assistance is  available in Somali, as well as Hmong and Spanish. In fact, we have a phone interpreter for more than 100 languages.

If you have internet access, applying online at is easy to do. If you don’t have internet access or you’re not comfortable applying online you can call 651-296-3644 for help, but please be prepared to wait a while on hold.

Are You Looking for Work?

CareerForce can help—at no cost to you! Connect with Minnesota employers hiring right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CareerForce can help you online or over the phone:

  • Job search ideas
  • Resume writing
  • Interview preparation and more

Visit or call 651-259-7501. Get on the road to rewarding work.

We’re in this together. Stay well.

About Deputy Commissioner Hamse Warfa

Appointed in April 2019, Deputy Commissioner Warfa is the highest ranking African immigrant in Minnesota government. In his role at DEED, Deputy Commissioner Warfa oversees Minnesota State’s Employment and Training programs, the Office of Economic Opportunity, Minnesota’s CareerForce resources and the Governor’s Workforce Development Board. He is Minnesota’s Authorized Representative with the U.S. Department of Labor for all Employment and Training Programs. Warfa holds a Masters in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College in Massachusetts, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego University.

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