New campaign says "you're welcome" to C-U

By Frances Welch

Canned whipped cream, plasma televisions, the modern web browser and air conditioning. They may have different uses, but they have one thing in common: Champaign-Urbana.

They all originated in Champaign-Urbana, and serve as a symbol of diversity and innovation.

Now, a new campaign is saying “you’re welcome” for these innovations, with “You’re Welcome CU,” a nationwide recruiting campaign.

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, or the EDC, is the gear working behind “You’re Welcome CU.” And even though the company launched the campaign just last week, it’s motivated to get the ball rolling.

“You’re Welcome C-U” has a main website and various forms of social media that supply several resources to update the community about unknown perks and information in the twin cities. But the campaign has another mission it hopes to achieve: recruitment.

Carly McCrory, communications director of EDC and a leader within the campaign, is excited for the innovation happening in the community.

The “You’re Welcome CU” campaign is trying to recruit driven and determined individuals from all around the country.

When the campaign was being brainstormed as just an idea at a table meeting, agencies around the community, such as JSM, Research Park and the City of Champaign, wanted to make sure that the campaign was speaking with one voice. One that was representative of the multiple voices in Champaign-Urbana, according to T.J. Blakeman, senior planner for the city of Champaign.

The brainstorming discussion eventually unfolded into the “You’re Welcome CU” campaign.

A goal that participating sponsors and agencies wanted to showcase was the unique and thriving community in Champaign-Urbana, especially the innovative growth coming out of Research Park.

According to McCrory, Research Park has become the ‘tech hub’ of central Illinois, and is quickly becoming the main tech-park for the Midwest. A Wolfram Research is a main contributor to that growth.

Founded by University Professor Stephen Wolfram, the software and research company is growing every day, an asset that the company wants to take advantage of, according to Laura Berg, Director of Human Resources at Wolfram Research.

Wolfram is one of the main sponsors of the campaign, a decision that, according to Berg, was a “no brainer.” She said that it was something that Wolfram, and the tech community at large wanted for a long time; a consolidated resource that highlighted, recruited and showcased the opportunities and quality of life in the community.

McCrory and her contributing colleagues at EDC contacted Wolfram, and allowed the research company to give input on what they would like to see involved with the campaign. And according to Berg, their number one concern was the incorporation of a community job board.

The job board allows companies in the community, the majority being tech-innovative, to post available job positions. Through this method, the companies recruit individuals that could have an impact on bringing growth into the community.

According to McCrory, Berg and Blakeman, that growth can only be attained from driven and ingenious individuals, who they hope the campaign can attract from pockets all around the country and world.

For them, this is just the beginning. The “You’re Welcome CU” campaign is saying “you’re welcome,” and the innovation of ideas from around the world can now work together and form right in Champaign-Urbana.

In a previous version of this article, Stephen Wolfram was improperly identified as a University alumnus. The article has since been updated to reflect that Wolfram is a professor at the University. The Daily Illini regrets the error.