• UAS

When a Job Shadow Leads to a Career Change

Updated: Nov 1

Maggie first met Urban Autism Solutions when she was working at Paul Mitchell The School as an education and team management leader. UAS had reached out to her to see if she could host a job observation for students from the UAS West Side Transition Academy to learn what it would be like to work in the beauty industry.

The experience turned out to be life-changing for Maggie. She had been working at Paul Mitchell for almost ten years and was beginning to consider making a career change but wasn’t sure what direction to go. As she watched the students engage with stylists, try out haircuts on the mannequins and learn about all that goes into running a busy salon, Maggie began to realize that helping young adults with autism and related challenges might be just the career change she had been looking for.

ABOVE: Maggie (kneeling) at the Paul Mitchell job shadow and with clients in her new career


“I was so inspired by Urban Autism Solutions’ mission and all that they do to support West Side high schoolers in Chicago Public Schools," Maggie says. “It was very clear to me from just a few interactions with UAS that their programs make an incredible impact on students' lives by helping them get that really important first job.”


Maggie stayed in contact with the UAS team, and in May of 2019 she became residential director helping to support young adults with autism. No two days are the same and Maggie enjoys the challenges of her new job, especially lending an ear and really listening to her clients.

“I’ve never regretted my decision to change careers,” Maggie says. “I love what I do and love making a tangible difference.”

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