Granholm Taps ACCESS Founder to Lead Department of Human Services

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

Ismael Ahmed

August 13, 2007

Ismael Ahmed an expert on welfare reform, immigration

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the appointment of Ismael Ahmed to succeed Marianne Udow as director of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

"Ismael has a wealth of experience in responding to the needs of people, and we are so fortunate to have someone with his leadership skills and compassion moving the Department of Human Services forward," Granholm said.  "Ismael shares our goals of encouraging strong families and helping citizens become self-sufficient, and we look forward to his leadership on these issues and more."

Ahmed co-founded the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), an influential Arab-American human services organization in the United States offering over 90 different programs with more than 900,000 client contacts annually.  He was appointed executive director in 1983.

Under his leadership, ACCESS received the Exemplary Community Service Program Award from the state of Michigan.  The award recognized the efforts of ACCESS in delivering outstanding service, programs, and commitment to the advancement of its community.

Ahmed is a contributing author to "Arabs in America: Myths and Reality" and is considered a national expert on immigration, welfare reform, and Arab American issues.  He also has written for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Publication, "Arab American Political Participation in the United States."

"I am honored that Governor Granholm has given me the opportunity to serve in this important role," said Ahmed.  "The Department of Human Services does so much to bring help and hope to people in need; as director, I look forward to working with the department and its partners to reduce poverty and improve the lives of children and vulnerable adults in our state.  I am particularly interested in building and strengthening the statewide and local collaborations established under Marianne Udow, which can expand the ability of government to reduce poverty, help citizens support their families, and protect children and vulnerable adults."

Ismael Ahmed is a 1975 graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts degree in secondary education and a minor in sociology.  He resides in Dearborn with his wife Margaret and has five children and a grandson.

Ahmed was appointed by Granholm to serve as regent of Eastern Michigan University, a post he will resign.   The Michigan Department of Human Services is the state's second largest agency and is organized under the tenets of the state Social Welfare Act and Child Protection Law.  Its nearly 10,000 employees administer a $4 billion-plus annual budget, including the federal TANF grant and Food Assistance Program and determine Medicaid eligibility.  It is the state's child and family services agency and administers child and adult protective services, foster care, adoptions, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and child support programs.  It licenses adult foster care, child day care, and child welfare facilities.  Its staff serves 1.5 million medical assistance cases and 1.2 million cash and food assistance cases statewide.

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Ismael Ahmed