In an article on CETA employes in yesterday's Maryland Weekly section, the same of Corneil Rich's employer was reported incorrectly. Rich works at Joe McLaughlins Oldsmobile in Largo.
Corneil Rich is a musician, first, foremost and always. He spends every nonworking, nonsleeping hour at his craft, writing songs, cutting records, auditioning his band, Omega.
Rich is also a new car get-ready person at Jim McLaughlin's Oldsmobile in Largo. For $3 an hour plus $1 for every car he completes, he cleans, washes and undercoats and Starfires, Delta 88s and Cutlass Supremes other people sell out front.
There is more of a conflict here than the fight for equal time between musician and job. Rich is a young man who wants to be a star, whether it be on stage or in an office.
What he wants more than anything, the 21-year-old Suitland man said recently, is to get his band a record contract. "We're trying Capitol Records now," he said. But to get the money to pay the way to stardom, Rich needs a job, and his high school education has not prepared him for the kind of work he sees himself capable of doing.
"I know this job is for training young people," Rich said in the manner young people use when they know they are being quoted. "I recognize it and see that one day I have to do (work) for myself, not for my parents."
He has already had "a couple of jobs" he said, working for six or seven months at a shoe store, working as an inter-office mail carrier in a government office.
During his high school days, Rich could get into CETA but was not accepted into a program. Earlier this year, after he learned of a cousin who got a CETA job, he tried again and succeeded.
Rich is now working at McLaughlin's through a CETA on-the-job training program, in which the employer pays half of a participant's earnings. Jerry Lewis, supervisor at McLaughlin's, said Rich, along with another CETA-sponsored employe, would start at the bottom with plenty of possibilities to move up through the ranks and into the parts department, new car management or other areas where the learn-as-you-go technique was possible.
And while Rich understands the realities of the jobs program - "it gives you a start, something to build from" - he also looks at job as temporary employment.
"This is a job I can hold until something else comes along," Rich said. "I'm trying to make it in the big time." Rich does not see car maintenance as "the big time."
When Rich first arrived at McLaughlin's, he spent many work mornings getting to gigs. After talks with his supervisor, Rich became more attentive at his chores. "He's looking out for me," Rich later said of Lewis.
It is clear that he would like to get into "something better" at the dealership. "I used to be a salesman, I would be good at selling cars," Rich said.Selling cars is "big time."
Rich's on-the-job training is a year's position with promise of a full-time, permanent job at the end of the line. But Rich, himself, said he might not make it that long. "I will give it another two months before I start looking for employment elsewhere. If I knew I could be the parts manager, I'd stay."