Writing That Works! Communications Skills for Construction

Worker in safety vest writing on a clipboard

Date and Location

Not currently scheduled.

About the Workshop

This course provides an introduction to writing and other professional skills that are important for public works professionals. The course emphasizes planning, preparing, and delivering effective and clear workplace documents to communicate with the general public and elected officials. Specific types of documents may include field construction reports, incident reports, maintenance reports, business letters, email, and interoffice memoranda. Students will also be introduced to basic office applications that may be used in the preparation of 
these documents.

Please note: Participants need to bring a laptop or other device for completing and submitting writing samples.

Topics Covered

  • Proper technique, vocabulary, and structure for technical documents used by public works professionals when communicating to the general public and elected officials
  • Preparing field construction reports, maintenance reports, and effective interoffice memoranda, including email and memos
  • Challenges of delivering technical information clearly to the public and elected officials
  • Using technology competently when preparing technical documents

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for individuals who need to correspond with public citizens and city and county boards/councils. You should attend if you write maintenance reports and documentation or if you are interested in becoming a supervisor, are a newly promoted supervisor, or are a supervisor who wishes to improve your communication skills.

Course Instructors

Eric Johnson is an experienced bridge, grading, and concrete inspector. He has a degree in comprehensive English education and before coming to work in the construction industry, he was a high school English teacher for several years. Johnson uses the skills he developed in that role for the preparation of both technical reports and curriculum for MnDOT training courses, and he also serves as a contributing writer and editor for technical manuals and publications. Johnson is currently teaching the "Office and Professional Skills for Public Works" course at the University of Minnesota's College of Continuing and Professional Studies, which is part of the Public Works Certificate curriculum.

Scott Johnson is an experienced employee development professional. He currently works at PE Services as their director of employee development. Prior to this position, he was a Dale Carnegie Training territory manager and instructor and Sentry Insurance corporate sales trainer. He is the owner of UCan Promotions, which he started as a way to teach his son Michael, who has cerebral palsy, all the skills he’ll need to succeed in life so he can live on his own and be independent.



This workshop is presented by Minnesota LTAP at the Center for Transportation StudiesUniversity of Minnesota. Minnesota LTAP is sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This course is subsidized through funding from LRRB and FHWA.