Tester's New Bill Will Help Veterans Like Nathan Wiens


by Charlie Keegan

After serving in the Army, it can be hard to find a job. Now, US Senator Jon Tester is helping veterans with his Hiring Heroes Act introduced Wednesday.

Nathan Wiens grew up in Glasgow, he graduated from MSU with an engineering degree on a ROTC scholarship. After graduating he served in the Army for almost five years, spending six months in Iraq.

He's now putting the skills he learned to work at AE2S Engineering in Great Falls.

As a Captain in the Army, Wiens was in charge of 20 to 120 people. Working as an officer engineer, he gained a variety of experience.

So when he applied to be certified as a professional engineer he was surprised to learn the experience in the Army didn't count. “My engineering experience in the military wasn’t recognized as engineering experience,” Wiens explains.

That's where Senator Tester, who sits on the Veteran Affairs Committee, comes in. “What I’ve heard from other veterans is if you ever need anything, as a veteran, you’re supposed to call Senator Tester,” Wiens says.

Tester told Wiens’ story Wednesday while introducing his new piece of legislation. He says the system isn't fair to veterans. “It’s not the way it should be, in fact, it’s ridiculous. This bill is going to help fix those kinds of problems. We have a responsibility to empower them and give them the tools they need to be successful and get them jobs,” Tester says.

Wiens is proud to come forward hoping this will open the public's eyes to what kind of work professionals do in the military. “I hope it educates people about the experience and also gives a little more accreditation to the kind of experience that people in the military get,” he says.

Wiens hopes this can help other veterans down the road in situations similar to his.

Tester says this act will help provide jobs for veterans as soon as they leave the military.