Community colleges are more than institutions of higher learning. As many underserved communities experience income polarization, lacking resources and a dearth of skilled workers, community colleges serve as beacons of opportunity and hope for a brighter future. On Chicago’s West Side—where residents have long endured the effects of economic disinvestment—Malcolm X College (MXC) is helping students and community members write new chapters of their lives.
In 2016, the City Colleges of Chicago network set a goal to ignite workforce development on the city's West Side by creating a hub for accessible career education and training. Located on the fringe of the city’s medical district, Malcolm X College has cultivated a strong pipeline of qualified healthcare professionals to fill the projected 84,000 healthcare jobs set to come online in the Chicago region over the next decade. Prioritizing holistic wellness, high-quality curriculum offerings and community integration, Malcolm X College is an epicenter of transformation for students and the surrounding community.
The school's stunning two-story atrium breaks the mold of a traditional commuter campus layout. Filled with natural light, a snack shop and various lounge areas, the space is designed to encourage students to gather and linger. The walls prominently feature environmental graphics that celebrate the legacy and ideals of Malcolm X, reminding all who pass through to pursue vision, confidence and achievement.
As the healthcare industry faces new strains on its workforce, the need for qualified healthcare professionals is urgent. That's where Malcolm X College steps in to deliver career-ready graduates who will help shape the future of medical care. Boasting a leading nursing program and instructional tools including a virtual hospital, pediatric ward, emergency room and a mock ambulance, Malcolm X College has become an institution of choice for students pursuing high-demand careers in healthcare. The state-of-the-art simulation spaces and mock clinical environments—which are rarely offered on a community college campus—help students increase job prospects by facilitating the hands-on training needed to move directly into patient care.
To meet student needs outside the classroom, the building includes a pool, gymnasium and a sports performance lab that equips students with the skills and confidence to promote physical wellness within the community. An onsite food pantry—operated in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository—provides students and their families with food items free of charge. The Wellness Center and onsite daycare support students’ mental, emotional and logistical needs that are often critical to their success in school.
Community colleges hold the key to the success of economies around the world. When we have the resources we need to address students’ needs, we’re able to help each student become successful. Helping students find their voice is at the heart of what we do.Dr. David A. Sanders President, Malcolm X College
The programs and services offered on campus benefit students as well as the surrounding community. With a focus on delivering impact to the West Side community, a dental hygiene clinic on the building’s ground floor serves as a training facility and community amenity that has served more than 7,000 patients, many with little to no insurance. The school's technology-ready conference center hosts community activities and public gatherings throughout the year, while the auditorium offers spaces for arts performances, town hall meetings and special events.
Since opening its new facility in 2016, Malcolm X College has upheld its promise to uplift its students and residents of the West Side.
With centralized student support services and installations such as the Social Justice Wing, MXC has built a culture that empowers students to not only achieve their academic goals but also to move boldly in the direction of their dreams. In a community that had become all too familiar with neglect, residents now have easy access to resources that can change the trajectory of their lives. The legacy and ideals of Malcolm X have become the fabric of the institution.