Adrian Pickett has dreamed of being a part of the Chicago Fire Department since he was a child. Malcolm X College not only helped him achieve that dream, but it also ensured he was prepared for the job on day one.

Adrian first enrolled in the emergency medical technician (EMT) program at Malcolm X in 2015 after deciding to change careers. He enjoyed his coursework so much that he decided to continue on to the paramedic program.

“For me, the paramedic program wasn’t just an avenue to get into the fire department. I really enjoyed the work,” Adrian said.

Adrian also enjoyed the connections that come along with being a Malcolm X College student. He was able to use those connections to get a job at the University of Chicago as an emergency room technician. He also secured a job with ATI Ambulance after the company came to Malcolm X to talk to students. Finally, because of Malcolm X College’s partnership with the Chicago Fire Department, all paramedic students intern with the department before graduation.

“Partnering with the Chicago Fire Department, you can see first-hand how the work is done and how to do the work yourself,” said Adrian.

Thanks to partnerships, the caring, knowledgeable instructors, and the technical, hands-on nature of the EMT and the paramedic programs, Adrian is now living his dream as a fire paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department. He graduated from the Chicago Fire Academy last fall with the Academic Achievement award.

“Starting at Malcolm X set me on a path. Any accolade I’ve been given, it came from what I learned at Malcolm X,” he said.

Adrian now passes on the knowledge he’s gained to patients to make sure they know how to take care of themselves. Adrian admits the EMT and paramedic programs are hard work, but the college prepares its students to succeed.

“Malcolm X gives you excellent resources, knowledge, and tools,” he said. “In return, they’re going to demand your time and attention.”

Adrian is grateful for his training at Malcolm X, his career, and the awards he’s received because of his hard work. But every time he’s celebrated or told congratulations, Adrian always reminds people of where he received his strong foundation.

"I get highlighted because of what I’ve achieved, and I’ve achieved this because of Malcolm X."

Adrian Pickett