Pre-Employment Transition Services

In partnership with other programs around the state, TOPS is building a model curriculum to deliver Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). The Pre-ETS curriculum will include five parts: (1) Instruction on Self-Advocacy; (2) Job Exploration Counseling; (3) Counseling on Postsecondary Education Programs; (4) Workplace Readiness Training to Develop Social and Independent Living Skills; and, (5) Work-Based Learning Experiences. Each learning module will include 8-hours of coursework, except for self-advocacy instruction, which will be a 4-hour course. The Pre-ETS curriculum aims to increase career awareness and develop evidence-based skills that improve transition outcomes for students with disabilities. This coursework will enrich our existing programming and services and be available to eligible students at no additional cost. We will keep you posted on our progress as we build the curriculum and apply to become a provider for these specific services this summer. To learn more about Pre-ETS, see OOD’s Students 14+ website:

Employment Tips during COVID-19

Many of us find ourselves navigating a new normal for work in the midst of COVID-19. Some of us have lost work, some of us do not want to work for the safety of themselves and others (and that is okay!), some of us can work and want to work, and some have been working all along to keep us safe. Here are some tips if you fall into any of those categories:

I lost my job, what next?

If you were furloughed or laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may qualify for Unemployment Benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. You can learn more and apply for benefits at Under the expanded eligibility, those who were laid off as a direct result of COVID-19 are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. There is no minimum income requirement for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance like there is for traditional Unemployment Benefits. (“Expanded Eligibility Coronavirus Unemployment Help.” Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 2020,

As businesses are starting to open back up, make sure to get in touch with your employer about when it is safe to return to work. There might be new protocols you have to follow to make sure you are keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.

Research Opportunity

Are you a person with a disability or chronic health condition ages 18-65?

We are doing a survey with people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

· What about your life has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak?

· What services and supports have changed?

· What are you worried about?

    Your voice is important!

 What will happen in the study?

  • You will do an online survey.
  • You can do the survey of your own phone, tablet, or computer.
  • The survey will take 20-45 minutes.
  • We will not ask for any personal information. Everything you say will be private

Is the study right for me?

  • We are including people who live in the United States.
  • We are including people with most disabilities and chronic health conditions.
    • If your only disability is a learning disability, ADHD, or a temporary physical condition (such as a broken leg), then we will not include you.

Go to the survey:

 Ariel Schwartz at Boston University is in charge of this study. For more information, contact her at:

Recruitment flyer_PWD

Internship Feature – TBDBITL

TOPS employment team would like to make a shout out to The OSU Marching Band (TBDBITL)!  They have been a huge supporter of the program for the last four years.  TOPS had one student, Jackson Hilliard, intern with them for all four years he was in our program.  When the employment team talked to the band about a potential partnership they were happy to support the program.  TOPS would like to thank everyone who had a part of this FANTASTIC experience for Jackson and The TOPS Program!

Virtual Hangouts

Anthony and Alex, current OSU students put their technology skills to work to enjoy some down time with a current mentor and a graduated mentor. If you need help using Zoom, leave a comment below!

It’s Almost Census Time! Are You Ready to be Counted?

Did you know Census Day is April 1st? The Census seeks to include every individual living in the United States, but many people with disabilities are historically left out of the count– harmfully impacting funding, services and supports.

The Arc is excited to share new resources to support people with disabilities and beyond in understanding what the census is, why it’s important for people with disabilities, and how to complete it. Check them out at and make sure you and your community are ready to be counted!

How to Disinfect Your Cell Phone

Keep in mind that some disinfectants like diluted household bleach don’t play well with electronics. According to Apple, many cleaning products and abrasive materials will diminish the fingerprint-resistant coating that keeps your phone from becoming a grimy mess whenever you scroll. Here’s what to do instead:

1. Power down first.

Before doing any cleaning, turn off your phone and unplug from any charger, Goff suggests.

2. Opt for microfiber cloths.

These specially designed cloths have more fibers than other types of cloth, and as a result, can pick up more microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses, Goff says. That doesn’t mean it kills them—just lifts them off surfaces without the use of water. Think of it as a little virus magnet.

Because of that, be sure to then disinfect the cloth before using it again. The best way is using your dishwasher—that “sanitize” cycle works like a charm—then hanging it up to dry, but you can also throw in the washing machine with warm water. And of course, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.

3. Turn to rubbing alcohol.

If your cell phone is particularly grubby, or you don’t have microfiber cloths available, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% water and 40% alcohol. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward.

Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the cell phone, and be sure to dilute it. You can also use a microfiber cloth for this for extra cleaning clout. Goff adds that regular soap and water works, too, just be sure to squeeze out excess liquid before using.

4. Don’t use abrasive products.

Using a screen protector is helpful if you want to use other types of cleaning products, says Goff, but if you don’t have one, avoid using products with ingredients that will affect your phone’s screen coating. This includes window cleaner, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.

You can use microfiber cloths on any surface, so carry some around to tackle your laptop, office phone, keyboard, even the handle of your coffee mug or knobs on your desk drawers. Just be sure to remember that once you’ve used it, that’s where the viruses live now. So, put the dirty cloths into a sealed plastic bag until it can get cleaned. Then wash your hands.

5. Keep it clean.

Also, be mindful about how you’re using your phone, Goff adds, especially in germy areas like public restrooms. Handling your phone or putting it down in an area that regularly gets a fine spray of toilet water, sneezes, and coughs? Yikes.

“Your phone will pick up whatever is on that surface,” says Goff. “So, keep your phone clean, but also change your habits in terms of how you handle it after that.”