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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Nation’s Largest Manufacturer of Kitchen Cutlery Helps Launch Challenger Learning Center in Local Community

September 23, 2008

In keeping with its commitment to support the local community’s educational initiatives, CUTCO Cutlery Corporation, the nation’s largest manufacturer of high-end kitchen cutlery, is leading an important effort to bring a Challenger Center for Space Science Exploration (http://www.challenger.org) to the company’s home base of Olean, New York.

The CUTCO Foundation and its officers have pledged $280,000 to build a Challenger Learning Center in Olean. The center will be used to teach children math, science and technology skills using space-themed scenarios. The mission control center will be named “Cutco Mission Control.”

The $2.25 million center will be located on the grounds of St. Bonaventure University in Olean. Dresser-Rand, also based in Olean, has contributed $250,000

The donations by the Cutco Foundation and its officers, other local donors, Dresser-Rand, and St. Bonaventure University, and a federal grant, leaves the project just $500,000 short of the goal of raising $2.25 million.

“CUTCO is very proud to help bring a Challenger Learning Center to Olean,” said Jim Stitt, president, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Alcas Corporation, CUTCO’s parent company. “So many good jobs today require proficiency in math, science and technology, and many students are lacking in those areas. This center will be a great way to get kids excited about these subjects and teach them critical skills in these areas. It is also our hope that this program will encourage local students to pursue science and technical careers.”

The center will work closely with school districts in New York and Pennsylvania located within a 60 mile radius of Olean. The center will offer full-day space-themed educational experiences focused on math and science that are tied to six weeks of classroom instruction at participating schools. As part of the experience, students will run missions from a simulated mission control and space station located at the center. This experience will require the students to use problem-solving skills and teamwork. During the experience, students will be divided into two groups. Each group will spend half of their time in the mission control and the space station, in order to experience and learn from both scenarios.

This Challenger Learning Center will be one of more than 50 located throughout the United States, Canada and England. Most of the centers are located in metropolitan areas, with Olean being one of the few rural areas to boast one.

About Cutco Cutlery and Vector Marketing

Cutco Cutlery is a 59-year-old company with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Olean, New York. Vector Marketing is the company’s sales division, coordinating all sales for Cutco Cutlery through a national network of college students who sell products through in-home personal demonstrations. The company’s sales force is made up of approximately 40,000 students. More than 13 million US households have a Cutco product.