WORKPLACE LITERACY GAP

* A growing number of American firms say their employees need to improve writing and interpersonal communications skills, according to the Olsten Corporation, a temporary-help service firm.

Of 400 businesses surveyed, 80 percent say their employees' writing skills need improvement, compared with 65 percent in 1991. The number of companies reporting a need for improvement of interpersonal skills rose to 75 percent from 62 percent a year ago.

Despite this growing concern, only 21 percent of firms say they offer programs to improve writing, while training for interpersonal communications is available at 42 percent of the companies.

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