Equitable Recovery for New Jersey’s Small Businesses
Small businesses are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minority- and women-owned businesses, which already were facing many obstacles prior to the pandemic, are struggling disproportionately.
At Rutgers Global Health Institute, we are addressing these challenges through Equitable Recovery for New Jersey’s Small Businesses. This program offers crucial support to small businesses and local nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations, in low-income and minority communities.
The Equitable Recovery program has three parts:
COVID-19 Health and Safety Training
This live, bilingual, web-based training session is the first step for small businesses and nonprofits participating in the Equitable Recovery program. This training is currently being offered to New Brunswick-based businesses in English and Spanish. The training provides participants with information about:
- COVID-19 symptoms and how infection spreads
- Safety precautions needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
- Health and safety standards mandated by recent New Jersey executive orders
- COVID-19 vaccination
- Local resources for COVID-19 testing and other support services
Following the web-based COVID-19 Health and Safety Training, business owners and employers can request a virtual or on-site consultation. This includes an initial assessment via phone to determine the risk of COVID-19 transmission in each workplace setting. Following this phone call, we visit the workplace (virtually or in person, according to employer preference) to take into account the physical environment and further explore specific needs and risks. Then, we provide tailored recommendations for how to operate safely.
Through the live training and consultation process, we are able to obtain a deeper understanding of the needs of employers, employees, and entire communities.
These needs might include business support such as advice on business strategy, taxes, or legal matters. Employers, employees, and their families might need services such as food or housing assistance or help accessing medical or mental health services.
We have a network of local resources ready to respond to these needs, and connecting businesses with these services is part of our program.
In New Brunswick, we discovered that employees would be more likely to get tested for COVID-19 if they could access the testing sites more readily. Together with Rutgers Occupational Training and Education Consortium, New Brunswick City Center, the New Jersey Department of Health, and Tavern on George, we have set up a weekly testing site located within walking distance from many points throughout the city. Individuals who work in New Brunswick can register online for free COVID-19 testing.
Sponsors and Partners
Our Equitable Recovery program in New Brunswick is supported by Johnson & Johnson Foundation and through an Advancing Health Equity and Social Justice Pilot Grant from New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science. Merck & Co., Inc., has funded the program’s expansion to Greater Newark.
In New Brunswick, we are offering training and consultations in partnership with New Brunswick Tomorrow, Rutgers Occupational Training and Education Consortium, and New Brunswick City Center.
Partnerships in Greater Newark are being developed.