Swimming Upstream to Train Today's New Tech Comm Professionals


Kari Chalker
Lead Environmental Planner, SWCA Environmental Consultants


May 7, 2024 - 2:00 PM


May 7, 2024 - 3:00 PM

Swimming Upstream to Train Today's New Tech Comm Professionals

Tuesday, 7 May 2024; 2:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern time

Early-career professionals are arriving in the workplace with experience and degrees in particular disciplines, but increasingly they lack foundational writing skills—even when writing is a core responsibility of the job. These young professionals are surprised by the speed and complexity of work assignments and are unsure how their contributions fit within a quality assurance, quality control workflow. Team leads are caught off guard when writers miss deadlines or turn in incomplete assignments. Employers are scrambling to provide solutions.

In this webinar, I will describe some of the ways I am helping my company address the need for more on-the-job training. In my previous position as a managing editor, which I held for 17 years, I watched my editing team increasingly pinch-hit as writers and subject matter experts as we scrambled to revise confusing language and catch scientific and regulatory errors. I have seen project managers and team leaders become increasingly frustrated about how to help junior staff. A recent job change from managing editor to writer and project manager has given me expanded perspectives from my new seat upstream in the workflow. I can better recognize some of the early missteps that result in poor-quality work landing on the desktops of reviewers and technical editors.

As workflows have reached break-neck speeds and junior staff more and more appear to lack writing skills that used to be a staple of undergraduate and graduate programs, companies must be prepared to assess individual needs and provide more in-house training, coaching, and mentoring so they have a deep bench of writers who are quick and thorough. Proactive companies that recognize the benefit of investing in training will regain lost efficiencies, improve employee retention, and boost revenues. I will share strategies and tools to improve the document creation experience for writers, reviewers, team leads, and project managers, and I will make the case that the key to success is better communication.



  • Describe the challenges new writers face.
  • Suggest things junior staff can do to take ownership of their work.
  • Propose steps team leads and reviewers can take to provide coaching and mentorship

Attendee Takeaways:

  • Internal communication is the key to having early-career writing staff who perform well.
  • Discussing or—better yet—experiencing various roles in a workflow is beneficial in growing teams and individual contributors.
  • Providing a feedback loop that feels safe and supportive is essential.

For current CPTC certificants: This webinar provides 2 CEUs for recertification, in the Project Planning, Written Communication, Reviewing and Editing, and Production Delivery core competency areas.

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To participate in a webinar and an online course, you must be able to access GoTo Webinar or GoTo Meeting, STC's online meeting space. Check system requirements for GoTo Webinar and GoTo Meeting prior to joining. GoTo Webinar and GoTo Meeting are a standard web seminar tool (no separate download required) and all you need is a reliable Internet connection and phone line, or a computer with VoIP capabilities.

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