Laid-off workers have options

With Lancaster County’s unemployment rate at nearly 12 percent, officials say they’re doing all they can to help about 100 workers laid off recently from Titanium Solutions, a mortgage counseling firm in Indian Land.

It’s possible some of the workers may be hired by a new company moving into Titanium Solution’s former office space, said Keith Tunnell, Lancaster County’s Economic Development Corporation director.

The Catawba Regional Council of Governments has tried to contact Titanium Solutions but has not yet been successful, said Business and Industry Services Manager Reid Baker.

The organization has a “multitude of services available” at three locations in Chester, Lancaster and York counties to help laid-off workers, he said.

The “One-Stop Workforce System” provides assistance to workers who need unemployment benefits, job training, resume help or mortgage assistance.

When a company shuts down, Baker said, his group tries to work with the employer before the workers’ jobs end.

If employers and management teams cooperate, he said, experts can meet with employees on site, answer questions and provide advice about filing for unemployment and finding a new job.

Tunnell’s team in Lancaster held a conference call with the company’s representatives last week. The conversation went well, he said, but the company didn’t divulge much information about its closure for legal reasons.

He’s called Lancaster County companies who are hiring to see whether they can provide jobs for Titanium Solutions’ laid-off employees, Tunnell said.

The reception from other employers has been good, he said.

“They want to see the resume of these folks.”

Representatives for Titanium Solutions have not returned calls or emails from The Herald.

Housing turnaround?

The company intending to move into part of Titanium Solutions’ former space is a mortgage underwriter, Tunnell said.

A mortgage underwriting firm moving in and Titanium Solutions’ closing could be economic signs that the housing market is turning around, he said.

Titanium Solutions focused on “distressed homeowners,” he said, working on behalf of major banks to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Representatives from the company told Tunnell that the Indian Land offices closed due to “market forces.”

When the housing market crashed in 2007 and 2008, companies offering mortgage counseling, such as Titanium Solutions, became relevant, he said.

If “market forces” have prompted the company to shut down, he said, it could be a sign that the housing market is heading back up.

Still, Tunnell said, his primary focus is on putting Lancaster County residents to work.

A housing market turnaround is “a positive sign,” Tunnell said.

“But not (a) positive one for folks that lost their jobs.”

By Anna Douglas, Staff Reporter with The Herald