hands typing on a keyboard

(WACO, Texas) – The thought of finding the right words to form sentences to create cohesive paragraphs can be a daunting task for some people, especially in the workplace.

Students at Texas State Technical College have the option of taking Technical and Business Writing, a class included in several of the college’s technical programs.

More than 90 TSTC students are registered statewide to take the class this fall. This compares to more than 800 students who are signed up to take the Composition I class in the fall, said Chris Baesler-Ridge, an instructor in TSTC’s English department who teaches Technical and Business Writing.

“Students might not be aware of how specifically tailored the class is to their educational and career needs,” he said.

The class teaches students how to communicate through writing in the workplace. It includes hands-on work in writing cover letters, emails, memorandums, progress reports, resumes and other documents.

“Each mastery is designed to have real-world applicability in the workplace and is tailored to the student’s technical program as well,” Baesler-Ridge said.

Often employers’ first written contact with a job applicant will be with a cover letter and resume. Baesler-Ridge said employers can use this information to start forming opinions about applicants. This is something students should think about for their first jobs and beyond in their careers.

“One day, most students will want to put down the wrench or the welder and move into management or even go into business for themselves,” Baesler-Ridge said. “Strong written communication skills are a crucial part of that process.”

Some of the programs that include the Technical and Business Writing class in their curricula include Automotive Technology, Building Construction Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and Industrial Systems. 

Jeffrey Williams, lead instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program at the Waco campus, said knowing how to effectively communicate in the workplace is vital to job competition and upward mobility.

Williams said business and technical writing is used to produce daily predictive or preventive maintenance reports for industrial equipment and machines. He said industrial maintenance technicians need to know how to write reports that properly explain problems and how to correct them.

“These reports may be used by planning and scheduling departments to assign tasks to field technicians,” Williams said. “To do this, computerized maintenance management software is routinely used in industry.”

Starting in the fall semester, students enrolled in the Technical and Business Writing class will do assignments online but can receive assistance in on-campus labs. Previously the class had been offered only online.

Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu

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