chemeketa students

Center for Business & Industry offering writing workshops

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa writing workshopsWords are in our e-mails that come and go like waves. Words are in our text messages and voluminous reports, our bullet-pointed PowerPoints and our 140 character tweets. Words are so prevalent you might think they are cheap.

The Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry asks you to consider the cost of being misunderstood.

Eric Witchey is a writing instructor for the Customized Training department of CCBI. To emphasize the value of his work, Witchey points to examples like –

  • Unclear e-mails creating a whirlpool of wasted time
  • The risk of litigation if poorly written instructions lead to mistakes

“My work reduces losses,” says Witchey.

Kirstin Madigan, senior human resources analyst for the City of Salem, hired CCBI because she was concerned about the loss of trust. Madigan conveys the resignation of a stickler weary with a world that doesn’t care enough about getting it right. “We couldn’t even be consistent in whether we capitalized ‘city’ in the same document. It just made us look like we didn’t know what we were doing,” Madigan said. The City of Salem has put over 100 employees through the CCBI writing workshops.

Witchey isn’t the writing teacher many of us had in middle school. “I don’t focus on grammar. We didn’t learn it in 9th grade and we’re not going to learn it now. I focus on writing patterns that tend to produce success. Businesses don’t care about theory. They care if their people get the skills.”

Evaluation comments from participants in a class for SAIF Corporation employees suggest Witchey’s approach works. “I especially appreciate the tips for organizing my thoughts before I begin to write,” reported one participant.

SAIF provides worker’s compensation insurance for Oregon. Tami Gagnon, training and development manager, says much of their writing is input into forms but when they have to write free-form to doctors, they sometimes struggle with clarity. “We want to understand the precise prognosis for recovery so we can help workers get back on the job.  CCBI’s training helped us improve and we will use them again.”

For more information about writing instruction and other types of customized training, e-mail the Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry or call 503.399.5181.


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