Malcolm X College’s Project MPACT has given Shottees Melton a second chance. She’s now working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), but she needed some support to get where she is today.

Shottees graduated from Hansberry College Prep in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood. During her senior year, a lot of her classmates were choosing four-year universities, but Shottees wasn’t sold. She started searching for alternatives and discovered that Malcolm X College was the closest City Colleges campus to her home. She also learned that it’s City Colleges’ Center of Excellence in Healthcare, which made the school a perfect fit.

“If I had gone to a four-year university, I probably would’ve dropped out,” Shottees said. “At Malcolm X, they don’t allow you to fail. There’s always some type of support.”

Shottees found support and community through services like the TRiO Student Support Services program, which helps low-income, first-generation, or college students with a disability further their education. Shottees also took advantage of the attentive instructors and the wraparound services available to all students, like tutoring, the Career Center, and the Wellness Center.

“I had never been to counseling before, but at Malcolm X, I went to the Wellness Center, and it forced me to take care of my mental health,” she shared.

Shottees is also a participant of Project MPACT, the college’s Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant program. Project MPACT provides tuition support, stipends, job training, and professional skills development to assist in job placement for students completing selected programs at Malcolm X.

When the COVID pandemic hit, Shottees struggled academically, and she didn’t pass her CNA program. Project MPACT gave her the money she needed to try again. Without the program, she wasn’t sure how she’d pay for her courses a second time.

That second chance allowed Shottees to successfully earn her CNA certification and secure jobs at a nursing home and a hospital. Next semester, she plans to go back to Malcolm X to become a licensed practical nurse.

Shottees is excited to see the doors a Malcolm X College education can open next. In the meantime, she’s already enjoying the reaction from people when she tells them where she attended school.

"It’s a great feeling and a great thing to know you’re part of a great college."

Shottees Melton