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Help planned for laid-off employees after midstate energy company closes

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jun 6, 2018 1:08 PM
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Worley & Obetz logo

(Harrisburg) -- A family-owned, midstate energy company has shut down suddenly amid fraud allegations.

Business leaders are now working to connect the laid-off employees to new jobs.

The closing of Lancaster County-based Worley and Obetz after more than 70 years in operation comes follows a couple rounds of layoffs. It leaves about 250 total employees out work.

This comes a few weeks after the home heating company's CEO went missing, was found by police, then was fired.

Tom Baldrige, president and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, said the community is losing a valuable corporate partner with this closing.

"Just the loss of what is, frankly, an iconic local business that has grown up and been a tremendous community partner for many, many years in Lancaster County," Baldrige said. 

He said it's too soon to know the full financial impact the company closing will have on the region.

"I think the economic impact is still kind of unknown long term, but short term it's clearly about the fact that 200 people all of a sudden find themselves without employment," Baldrige said. 

Four banks have told the Securities and Exchange Commission they'll have combined losses of more than $60 million because of fraud committed by an employee of Worley and Obetz, according to the trade publication American Banker.

They include Lancaster-based Fulton Financial, Univest, S&T Bancorp, and Franklin Financial Services.

Attempts to reach Worley and Obetz executives were not successful. 

Baldrige says the chamber is partnering with Rhoads Energy to set up a job fair for those now unemployed. It's scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 12th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rhoads Energy annex on Hazel Street in Lancaster. Employers interested in participating can contact the chamber

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