Cornerstone Ministries Profile
Video: Here is an Interview of Cornerstone's Founding President on Jamaica’s morning TV program, “Smile Jamaica” in 2003.
Cornerstone Ministries is a missionary organization teaching the skilled trades, as well as sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all of its practical and theoretical curriculums.
Over the years Cornerstone has been involved in four distinct entities in Jamaica:
Christian Principles Classes
Founded, as an evangelical trans-denominational organization, Cornerstone Ministries was incorporated under the company’s act of Jamaica in September 1989. We received N.G.O. [Non-Governmental Organization] status, and are recognized as an approved charitable organization. A Board of Directors governs us. We are a missionary organization aimed at providing proactive and innovative interventions towards the reduction of crime, poverty and hopelessness in Jamaica, through education
Correctional Service: Cornerstone having seen God achieve great things was and is widely known for its pioneering work in the island’s penal system. Since 1993 to 2007, we had implemented unparalleled strategies aimed at the building and equipping of training facilities and the education of inmates and officers in various modules/disciplines spanning construction, cabinet making, welding, agriculture and computer technology. After fourteen years Cornerstones season and involvement with the Correctional Institutions in Jamaica came to an end in 2007.
Industry and Community Development: Cornerstone is involved in industry and Community Development since 1989 - Present. We also have attracted those students from industry from day one with as many as 50 plus companies over the years sending their employees to our Christian Centered Vocational School. Computers have been used to complement our training programs in all curriculums and have been used to train our students in partnership with HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica. (HEART, is the accreditation arm of the Ministry of Education in Jamaica.
I.T. /1989 – to present: Cornerstone’s vision regarding offering to its student’s high-tech computer technology has been established. With the completion of its new second story addition we now have three fully equipped 20-units, 16-units, and 14-units AC class rooms totaling (50) new and updated computers, hardware as well as software. There is also an I.T. theoretical classroom seating 20 students. These classrooms are designated to meet the computer needs of our students coming from industry/general public.
It is important to note that in each class offered there is a component of Christian Principles Class that must be taken.
The organization (since 2013) is acting under the leadership of a new restructured Management Team comprising of the Executive Director Valerie Gowdy, Accountant/Office Manager Phylis McGann, I.T. Technician/Maintenance/Christian Principles Facilitator Rudolph Gentles.
Other facilitators are: Data Operations Instructor, W. Gordon, D. Pink, Digital Animation, D. Coke, A. Bennett; Automotive Instructor A. Graham, J. Martin, P. Champagnie; English, R. Brown, J. Baxter; Entrepreneurial R . Brown, C. Gayle; Technical Drawing/Math L. Westcarth, B. Mclean; Tri Center: M. Robinson, S. Arboine, and other office and security staff.
It is the intent of the Ministry for this Team to successfully accomplish the Ministry’s Mission Statement:
“The Mission of Cornerstone Ministries while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to guide men and women in achieving their highest potential and purpose in life while imparting theoretical, practical and life skills training as well as other social interventions through community development projects.”
Bring dignity to the individual and Family
Facilitate the EMPOWERMENT of the individual in order that they may be productive for themselves, their families, their community and their Country.
Make the home, community and country a better place.
Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Community Development Project: Spring Village in St. Catherine, consisting of a 10,000 person plus village, and its community center which C/M established is located on ultimately five acres donated by Jamaica Broilers, to the community in 1999 was the start of Cornerstone’s community development involvement. Cornerstone raised the funds to build a community civic centre building as well as equip the centre to train in the skills of cooking, welding, electrical, information technology and hydroponics. The Centre also facilitates homework programmes for the students that attend the adjacent All Age School.
Cornerstone also had the responsibility of managing the project from start to finish, which included training persons from the community so that the community civic centre would be self-sustaining in five years. In 2006 and after seven years Cornerstone had the great satisfaction of handing over the total Spring Village community project to well-trained persons from the community. It continues with now 45 employees under the leadership Randy Finnikin, who happens to be one of Cornerstones’ past student, progressing to teacher, ultimately Director, then retiring from Cornerstone to become the Director of Spring Village.
In September 2003, with an initial one time grant from the Japanese and the Canadian Governments, we constructed the auto workshop and purchased the major training equipment, including various diagnostic testing components.
We have also partnered with Garmex HEART Academy for Data Operations Level 2.
Since 2019 we have partnered with HEART Trust/NCTVET for Motor Vehicle Repairs Level 2, Data Operations Level 2, and Digital Animation Level 1. Request has been submitted for Level 2 Digital Animation.
(HEART Trust/NTA now recently renamed HEART/NSTA Trust is a Jamaican educational government arm under the Ministry of Education) to provide training for our students.
Cornerstone Ministries Past and Current Projects:
In the following list of projects and successes it is important to highlight that throughout Cornerstone’s history there have been many supporters from individuals, churches, organizations as well as government entities who have participated in funding the efforts of "His," ministry.
It is the policy of Government/entities to help funding with a one year start up grant.
This one-time grant does not include funding Cornerstone Ministries for monthly rent, building for ministry, utilities, or salaries for Cornerstone staff. Cornerstone Ministries must raise the funds to sustain and perpetuate its ongoing efforts from individuals, churches, business etc. Cornerstone must also raise the funds to continue all its projects after original start-up grant from any one-time granting agency.
Past and Present Projects/Successes:
1989 – 1991
Cornerstone started teaching its first two-year curriculum in Cabinet Making and Joinery, starting with 40 students at Deeds Industry. We taught “theory only,” one eight-hour day per week, and the students received their practical experience in their work place the remaining four days per week. The courses offered were, Technical Drawing (3-hr.), Wood Theory (2-hrs.), Math (2-hrs), and Christian Principles (1-hr).
Teaching theory one day per week gave the Founder Director of Cornerstone the opportunity the other six days per week to write a unique working manual/syllabus for developing country tradespersons that is 6,000 pages. This manual/syllabus took two years to write, and is still being used today by Cornerstone.
1989 – 2000
Community: Trained 150 persons in construction skills, while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, most of whom moved into supervision or management in the private sector.
The success of Deeds, lead to Cornerstone offering its two-year Cabinet Making and Joinery course to the wood manufacturing industry. Ultimately over the years 50 Companies participated in sending their employees to our school in theory only while receiving their practical experience in the work place.
1993 – 1996
1993 – 2007
Establishment of prisoner rehabilitation training at South Camp Adult Correctional Center (Gun Court). Many came to know The Lord, at least three men became Pastors.
1995 – 2000
Renovation and establishment of a 7-acre training industrial complex at Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (Brickyard) in downtown Kingston with one-year grants provided by the Netherlands, The British and the Canadian Governments. We have trained over 600 inmates in the prisoner rehab program as well as correctional officers.
Offered Conflict Resolution training to the Correctional Officers and inmates, Money Management, personal development, Information Technology (I.T.), as well as sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mobilization and training of residents of Spring Village, Old Harbour a 10,000-person plus community in a programme funded/supported by Best Dressed Chicken, USAID, Work Force Development Consortium, Inter-America Development Bank, United Way of Jamaica and various international churches and groups.
We have trained over 700 adults in Academic & Vocational Skills, 1,000 All Age School students and many others in personal, social and communal skills while strengthening the overall capacity of the community.
1998 – 2006
Offered Information Technology training, at our Head School /Office, through initial funding provided by the British High Commission and People’s Action for Community Transformation (PACT). We have trained over (200) youths from the Allman Town and Denham Town Communities in computerized literacy training.
Commenced Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Entrepreneurial training courses to graduates of our 3-year programme funded by Work Force Development Consortium and Inter-American Development Bank.
Commenced training of physically challenged individuals from Kingston and surrounding communities in collaboration with Disabilities Association of Jamaica in vocational skills funded by Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the I.D.B.
Sept ‘2003 – Present
Construction of Automotive Training and Repair workshop in partnership with the Embassy of Japan. Establishment of Automotive Training and Repair Apprenticeship Program in collaboration with H.E.A.R.T Trust/NTA.
2005 – 2008
Facilitate the National Heroes Park Redevelopment Project in collaboration with Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to foster and promote community development and capacity building activities in the communities of Allman Town and Fletcher’s Land.
Feb 2007 – 2015
Offered Information Technology training where students pursue the H.E.A.R.T Trust/NTA Data Entry Level I and II Course.
Offered Motor Vehicle Repairs to Government employees sponsored by the Ministry of Finance.
2015 - 2018
Cornerstone Ministry regarding computer technology currently has three fully equipped 22-units, 14-units and 17-units, AC class rooms totaling (53) new and updated computers, hardware as well as software. There are also 2 theoretical classrooms seating 27 and 30 students. These classrooms are designated to meet the need of our students as well as those coming from industry/general public.
Between 2015 and 2018 Cornerstone trained:
3 groups of Data Operations Level 2 students; 6 groups of Motor Vehicle Repairs Level 2 students; 2 groups of Digital Animation Level 1 students; and 2 groups of Pre-Technical students; all sponsored by the National Attached Youth Programme (NUYP).
5 groups of Motor Vehicle Repairs Level 2 students sponsored by Citizen Security & Justice Programme (CSJP).
4 groups of Data Operations Level 2 students sponsored by Community Training Interventions (CTI).
3 students of Motor Vehicle Repairs Level 2 sponsored by USAID COMET II.
Creative Industries Education & Employment Programme (CIEEP) in association with the World Bank and the Government of Jamaica:
Digital Animation – 10 groups of Digital Animation totaling 154 students. These students did 5 models over a period of 10 months.
Spanish - Ministry of Finance Jamaica and the Colombian Government sponsored Government Employees (2 Groups per day for 3 months)
Data Operations Level 2 – 2 Groups
Motor Vehicle Repairs Level 2 – 1 Group
Digital Animation Level 1 – 1 Group
Ministry of Finance – sponsored Government employees for Motor Vehicle Repairs (18 students)