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New Community Ambassador Program to Welcome New Residents & Recruits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

August 12, 2021

 Media Contacts:

Terri Reifsteck: (217) 714-4273,

Carly McCrory-McKay: (217) 649-2586,

New Community Ambassador Program to Welcome New Residents & Recruits

Champaign, IL – Chambana Welcome Crew, a new community ambassador program, launched today with the goal of attracting and retaining new residents to Champaign County by creating a welcoming environment and a sense of belonging.

Featuring a dozen ambassadors with a range of backgrounds, demographics, and experiences, the program will match newcomers to ambassadors based on their interests to help them navigate their new home.

The program is a collaboration between the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Visit Champaign County, and the Dual Career Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Recruiting and retaining talent is a top priority for cities across the country,” explains Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director for the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “For several years, our organizations have partnered with our local employers to provide resources to attract talent to our community, and the Chambana Welcome Crew is the next step to ensure these recruits land here in the Champaign-Urbana area.”

Ambassadors will connect with their recruits to serve as a “first friend” in the community, helping find the resources they need to settle here. “Moving to a new community is challenging, finding the resources you need so you can enjoy your new surroundings,” says Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing and Community Engagement for Visit Champaign County. “By sharing authentic experiences our ambassadors will be helping these new residents find everything from a school for the children to their favorite new restaurant. We hope by engaging from day one, these newcomers will love Champaign County as much as we do.”

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign strives to attract diverse talent from all over the world.  The Dual Career Program assists the equally talented partners of our recruits to make Champaign County their location of choice,” says Dana Cohen, Assistant Director of the Dual Career Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   “The Chambana Welcome Crew is an essential piece of the puzzle to onboard talent to our community and attract even more to this amazing place we call home.”

The program will be open to any residents that moved to Champaign County since early 2020 and to anyone considering a move to the area. “We anticipate that our local employers will rely heavily on our ambassadors to help share their living and working experiences, so they can see what life here will be like beyond their career,” states McCrory-McKay.

The Chambana Welcome Crew will continue to add new ambassadors regularly to meet the demand in the communityCommunity members that are passionate about the area that want to serve in an ambassador capacity are encouraged to apply at the website, The organizers of the program are seeking a diverse group from all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and stages of life. “It’s important that our ambassadors look like our community—an international destination that is welcome to all,” explains Reifsteck.

For more information on the Chambana Welcome Crew and how to be involved or request an ambassador, visit email

About Visit Champaign County

Visit Champaign County’s mission is to promote a welcoming destination experience for visitors to strengthen economic opportunity and enhance the lives of residents.

 About Champaign County EDC

Champaign County EDC is a public-private partnership dedicated to fostering a cooperative, county-wide approach to economic development; works to improve the economic well-being of all Champaign County through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements, small business development, and promotion of quality of life; and brings together community partners to support economic development by aligning interests through productive relationships, open dialogue, and advocacy efforts.