Heather Tarczan joined Urban Autism Solutions (UAS) in Chicago, Illinois as executive director in 2016. Under Tarczan’s leadership, UAS more than doubled its programming and opportunities for young adults with autism. In 2019, UAS opened the first-of-its-kind Transition Academy for high school students from West Side Chicago Public Schools. The UAS Academy provides community integration and complementary services for students, including from clinicians in social work. Speech and language and occupational therapy, job shadows, internships and social-emotional learning are other services provided to participants in the UAS Academy.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, UAS was recognized by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker as one of the first organizations to quickly and effectively offer meaningful virtual programs to young adults with autism. During this time, UAS also opened a third townhouse residence.
Tarczan has a diverse background and leadership experience ranging from the private and nonprofit sectors to higher education, state government and political campaigns. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a major in psychology and also has a certificate in integrated marketing communications from DePaul University in Chicago.