CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – On Wednesday afternoon, the New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the University of Illinois YMCA unveiled a new plan to Champaign County residents of how best to welcome immigrants to their communities.
The unveiling of this plan – during the YMCA’s Welcoming Week – is the culmination of over four years of planning, surveying and deliberation of how to make Champaign County’s newest residents feel welcome and accepted and how to assist them in becoming established and thriving members of the community.
“The multi-year effort to create this plan is a testament to the commitment Champaign County has to ensure our community is welcoming and inclusive,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “At approximately 25,500 strong, Champaign County is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in Illinois – and we know that number will continue to grow. This new Welcoming Plan covers many important topics and outlines critical recommendations for us all as we work towards the goal of ensuring that newcomers and immigrants can flourish in our community.
The Welcoming Plan consist of five topics: economic integration and employment; citizenship and civic engagement; health and well-being; language and education; and public safety.
Each topic comes with three recommendations of how to achieve the topic’s goals. These include supporting immigrant-owned businesses, building pathways to citizenship, and establishing communication and trust between immigrants and the existing community.