Page 44 - 2021 CNC West April-May
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  Helgeson encourages his students to explore the software’s capabilities and their own creativity to produce truly unique products.
for the complication; he knew that achieving good fits is of major importance in any manufacturing career his students might pursue.
The software gave each of the students the opportunity to find their own solution. More students joined the project, adding cut-out shapes or redesigning the chair to fit an adult. Eventually Helgeson’s students even sold a few prototypes at a OAVNSP (Oregon Association of Vocational Special Needs Personnel) conference in Hood River, Oregon.
While his main concern is always on inspiring his students to take their futures into their own hands, some of Helgeson graduates go on to Rogue Community College to earn their one-year CNC machining certification degree. He revealed that RCC’s program was another main reason that his students learn Mastercam; he wants his graduates to be familiar with the most widely-used CAD/CAM software in the machining industry, which is what RCC and most of the nearby shops use. “We have a door manufacturer two blocks from here who has said that they want to hire someone with CAD experience. They’re willing to do in-house training with employees
The software gave each student the ability to create their own chair. Many adapted the plans into full-sized Adirondack chairs.
on their machinery, but that software training gets my students in the door,” he said. That final placement of a graduate in a permanent position cements the positive change that Helgeson and New Bridge facilitate.
Helgeson is firm in his belief that each and every one of his students can find themselves a stable career if given the right opportunity. “There’s always a tremendous amount of change that occurs within these young men who have been removed from the environment where they committed whatever it was to get them sent here. Once they are in a safe environment without that whirlwind of influence, you can imagine the change,” he said proudly. Many of New Bridge’s students are having their first real experience with formal schooling and positive male role models. The disciplinary problems Helgeson had had over the past 12 years number in the single digits, a testament to the effect a steady schedule, three meals a day, and overall stabilization can have on these young men. “These youth have been removed from the situation where they engaged in criminal activity. They’ve been given a second opportunity to engage in their education and in treatment for their criminal activity. They’re given the chance to
reenter society and their local community as productive individuals. To see that transformation, to see them light up when they succeed with something, that’s what I’m here for. I just have a feeling deep in my heart that this helps them.” Even though Helgeson could never have guessed that he would end up teaching at New Bridge, he knows now that it was exactly what he was meant to do, and the dozens of students he has inspired are better for it.
CNC WEST April/May 2021
Hegelson’s students practice dimensioning and designing within the Wireframe for a good portion of their time at New Bridge.

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