PLATTSBURGH — Support for Kyle Kourofsky, an employee with Asperger’s syndrome, has earned the Town of Plattsburgh recognition from a state agency.
Kourofsky said his employment in the town’s Water and Wastewater Department has helped him as he works to overcome difficulty in communicating with others and in social interactions. The staff, he says, has made him feel part of a bigger family, as well as more mature and responsible.
“It’s like a second home,” he said. “The more they like you, the more they tease you.”
An example of that was on display at the Town Office building recently, when Kourofsky’s coworkers labeled one of the rooms as his private dressing room, complete with a star and his name.
And the camaraderie in the department has really helped him face recent family struggles, he said, as his father, Stanley Kourofsky, is battling pancreatic cancer.
Through support from the town, Champlain Valley Educational Services and the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the young man transitioned from an intern to a full-time employee.
And last week, the town’s Water and Wastewater Department was named Government/Nonprofit of the Year by the OPDD at its Works for Me awards ceremony in Albany.
Kourofsky was pleased his father and mother, Stanley and Sherry Kourofsky, were able to attend.
“My dad wanted it more than anything,” he said.
The Kourofskys were joined at the event by Water and Wastewater Utilities Director Scott Stoddard; Assistant Water and Wastewater Director Paul Wright; Deputy Town Supervisor Martin Mannix; Champlain Valley Educational Services Partners in Transition Coordinator Tonya Robinson; and Partners in Transition Employment Specialist Dave Slater.
Kyle has a degree in environmental science from SUNY Plattsburgh. After graduation, Sarah Gallagher, with the OPWDD, was able to connect him with the Partners In Transition program.