- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska at Omaha has received a $1.3 million federal grant to send graduate students in social work to rural Nebraska areas to help at-risk youth with behavioral health concerns.

The grant - one of the largest received by the school - comes from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Nebraska employs nearly 1,900 social workers with a focus on child, family or school issues and only 420 health and substance abuse social workers. However, a large number are located in Nebraska’s largest metropolitan areas.

UNO associate professor Peter Szto says that has resulted in a critical shortage of behavioral health workers in rural regions.

The grant will provide $10,000 stipends for the graduate students who practice in rural areas.

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