Driven by a rationale to see life-changing results on students and surrounding communities, Girls’ Town Jamaica has been in existence for over fifty years. The institution originally catered to unskilled women; limited in scope to the areas of sewing, cookery, and home economics.
It is now a community-based project, sponsored in part by HEART Trust NTA and the Rev. Dr.Merrick ‘Al’ Miller led Whole Life Ministries, who intervened during a time of the institution’s dire financial existence. Following the intervention of Whole Life Ministries, Girls’ Town Jamaica was restructured and rebranded to better respond to the needs of the workforce and wider communities. The reorganizing included: streamlining of courses, renaming of the institution to Professional Development Institute (PDI) and Girls’ Town, which greatly supported the revolutionary inclusion of male students; a response to the appeal for gender balance.
Today PDI & Girls’ Town provides the opportunity for thousands to successfully realize their goals through NCTVET Levels One and Two Certification in a host of courses including Cosmetology, Housekeeping, Food Preparation, Early Childhood Education and Digital Animation. Graduates of PDI are all over the world working in countries such as Dubai, Italy, working on ships and more. PDI also offers an on-site Day Care Centre for children of its learners, access to first-aid nursing and healthcare, a Canteen and Counselling and Coping services. Graduates have described the institution as:
“The best school, exquisite teachers, they are like family who cares for your total well-being”
Notwithstanding its success to date PDI & Girls’ Town is determined to continue broadening its offerings in programmes, certifications, and psycho-social support for students.
Whole Life Ministries’ involvement in PDI & Girls’ Town has been essential in impacting individual lives, community development, and nation-building.