Southeast Michigan Talent Development Successes Honored by State Leaders, Workforce Experts

LANSING, MI (March 31, 2021) — Local talent development and employment successes were among those celebrated by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards this week.

Local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered virtually on Wednesday, March 31 to recognize Jackson resident Darkus Worthey, as well as America’s Preferred Home Warranty and Michigan Works! Southeast for providing on-the-job training to workers interested in gaining the necessary experience needed to further their careers.

America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW) has worked closely with Michigan Works! Southeast for more than 10 years.  Over the years, APHW has turned to Michigan Works! Southeast for assistance with Going PRO Talent Fund applications, On-the-Job Training grants and recruiting tactics.  As a result, APHW has proven to be a strong asset to the community and for individuals like Darkus Worthey.

Worthey grew up in Jackson and attended Jackson College on and off only when she could afford tuition.  In 2000, Worthey’s life changed when she welcomed a daughter.  Between 2001 and 2003, Worthey returned to college at the University of Phoenix in hopes of earning a degree.  Unfortunately, the responsibilities of being a single mother required Worthey to work full-time, putting her education on hold.

Over the years, Worthey maintained multiple full-time and part-time jobs to make ends meet.  In 2012, she decided to register at Baker College, determined to get her degree in Accounting.  However, the credits she had earned at the University of Phoenix were non-transferrable and she was forced to start over.  Despite this barrier, Worthey persisted and graduated from Baker College with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2015.

Unfortunately, the challenges kept coming.  To her surprise, Worthey was unable to find employment in the accounting field due to her lack of experience.  In order to earn a steady paycheck, Worthey continued to work in an unrelated field until she lost her full-time job after the company closed its doors.  Once again, Worthey faced another challenge.

In order to overcome the latest roadblock in her life, Worthey kept going.  While participating in the PATH:  Partnership.  Accountability.  Training.  Hope program, Michigan Works! Southeast was able to place her in On-the-Job Training at America’s Preferred Home Warranty in the Accounting Department working in Accounts Receivable.  Through the OJT program, Worthey gained the skills and experience needed to gain employment in the accounting field.

At the end of the OJT contract, Worthey was hired full-time with APHW.  Since her employment, she has earned attendance awards at APHW and has been promoted.

“APHW is a staple in our region and I’m proud of the way they have partnered with Michigan Works! to further the education of local residents as well as providing good-paying career opportunities,” said state Sen. Mike Shirkey, (R-Clarklake).

The Impact Awards, hosted by Michigan Works! Association, recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state.

Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.

“In a year where there were so many extra barriers to overcome, I applaud Darkus for her persistence and dedication to completing her bachelor’s degree,” said state Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Springport). “As a former board member for Michigan Works! Southeast I also want to thank them for continuing to help prepare our talented workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The Michigan Works! Association is a non-profit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent eco-system. For over 30 years, the Association has been the go-to resource for federal, state and local workforce initiatives.

The Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit

Find the nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center by visiting or by calling (1-800) 285-WORKS (9675).