When NJBIA invited the state’s Office of Innovation to its Education and Workforce Development Policy Committee, it wasn’t to talk about the coronavirus. But as it turns out, the office has developed a platform that is proving valuable in distributing information on the outbreak.

Kai Feder, the office’s chief of staff, provided an overview of its functions during a virtual online meeting with NJBIA members this morning.

As employers know, information is critical at this stage because the situation is changing so dramatically so quickly. Feder and his team set up what he described as a business information hub on COVID-19 that allows users to more easily search for the specific information they want.

The hub is at http://cv.business.nj.gov/

So if a user is seeking information on resources for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by coronavirus, for instance, they can enter the information into a search function and get access to that specific request.

It also has a live chat function available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help guide users in their searches or just help in using the site. (Don’t forget that the New Jersey Department of Health is also maintaining a hotline for coronavirus questions, 1-800-Jersey-7.)

The Office of Innovation also created a section of health-based information from the Federation of American Scientists to provide individuals with good answers to their health questions and debunk some misinformation being circulated. Individuals should continue to follow the guidance from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health, but this site can help with topics they don’t cover. To go to “Ask A Scientist” COVID-19, visit https://fascv.helpdocs.io/l/en

Feder explained that with information changing every day, and sometimes every hour, the new platform (which was launched in January) is well-suited to handle frequent and fast updates. The Office of Innovation was created in 2018 by the Murphy administration to make government more tech savvy so it can start using the same tools already available in the private sector.

Before the outbreak, the office was focused on the Future of Work—understanding and being able to predict the training needs, legal issues, and health and safety implications that a technology-driven global marketplace will demand in the years ahead.

With the coronavirus outbreak, however, the new platform has a special opportunity to showcase its flexibility.