The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Mays Center surprises with new $6.7 million program during fifth anniversary celebration

Mays Center surprises with new $6.7 million program during fifth anniversary celebration - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas A&M University-San Antonio launched a $6.7 million education and job placement program at the Mays Center for Experiential Learning's fifth anniversary celebration on Oct. 14, 2022. From left to right: Mike Ramsey, executive director of Workforce Development for the City of San Antonio; Cynthia Teniente-Matson, A&M-San Antonio's president; and Adrian Lopez, chief executive officer of Workforce Solutions Alamo. Photo by Amber Esparza

The Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at Texas A&M University-San Antonio celebrated its fifth anniversary launching a $6.7 million education and job placement program at a ceremony Oct. 14. 

Through the program, the university partnered with Ready to Work San Antonio and Workforce Solutions Alamo. 

Ready to Work SA is an education and job placement program sponsored by the city of San Antonio, designed to “help thousands of San Antonians improve their quality of life.”

Workforce Solutions Alamo is the governing board for the regional workforce system, which includes the 13-county Alamo region. Their mission is to “strengthen the Alamo region economy by growing and connecting talent pipelines to employers.” 

Karen Burgard, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development, talks about the impact the A&M-SA community has had on the Mays Center during the center’s fifth anniversary celebration on Oct. 14, 2022. Photo by Amber Esparza

At the conclusion of the event, President Cynthia Teniente-Matson; Mike Ramsey, the executive director of Workforce Development; and Adrian Lopez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo,  signed a $6.7 million deal to formally kick off the initiative.

Dr. Adriana Contreras, associate vice president and executive director of the Mays center, opened the celebration by praising her staff and listing some of the center’s biggest accomplishments. 

Contreras said that since the opening of the center in 2017, more than 1,900 volunteers have logged over 20,000 hours and over 800 academic internships have been received by students.

“This year alone, over 200 students have registered to vote,” Contreras said. “The Mays Center has held several voter registration drives and booths in effort to get more A&M-San Antonio students to vote.”

Matson spoke about recently deceased Lowry Mays, for whom the center was named. The Mays Family Foundation granted the A&M-San Antonio $5 million to support the center’s work in 2017. The grant was the largest donation the university has received to date. 

“It is a great honor to stand here before you today remembering Mr. Mays,” Matson said. “It was his legacy here that was most impactful for generations to come.”

A few of the guests present at the celebration gave their testimonials on the success and the mission of the Mays Center.

“Every function, every event, every project and every initiative that the Mays Center takes on has the need of the community at its heart and the members of the community at its focus,” said Karen Burgard, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development. 

Burgard recounted her experiences with Choose. Act. Impact., a widespread community service event that occurs twice a year, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, based out of the center, where university faculty are assigned middle schoolers from the community to mentor. 

Attendants of the celebration also heard from Liandre De La Uso, former student worker at the Mays Center who graduated from A&M-San Antonio in the spring. Uso entered his job at the Center as a marketing assistant and left as marketing manager. 

“I was part of building an amazing marketing team,” Uso said in a speech. “Growing and learning with them was really one of the best experiences of my life.”

Uso is now employed at A&M-San Antonio as a marketing and communications specialist.

Check back with The Mesquite for a follow-up on the Ready To Work program and the multimillion dollar partnership struck up between A&M-San Antonio and Workforce Solutions Alamo. 

About the Author

Xochilt Garcia
Staff Writer
Xochilt Garcia is a sophomore at Texas A&M University-San Antonio majoring in communications. In her downtime Xochilt enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and listening to music in all forms. Xochilt hopes to become a full-time reporter, traveling and bringing light to the stories that matter to the community.

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